June 19, 2020

Screen Time: Week of June 15

Laverne Cox, from Sam Feder's 'Disclosure.' Courtesy of Netflix

Screen Time is your curated weekly guide to excellent documentaries and nonfiction programs that you can watch at home.

Sam Feder's Disclosurepremiering June 19 on Netflix, takes an unprecedented look at transgender depictions in film and television, revealing how Hollywood simultaneously reflects and manufactures our deepest anxieties about gender. Leading trans thinkers and creatives, including Laverne Cox, Lilly Wachowski, Yance Ford, Jen Richards, Mj Rodriguez, Jamie Clayton and Chaz Bono, share their reactions and resistance to some of Hollywood's most beloved moments. What emerges is a fascinating story of dynamic interplay between trans representation on screen, society’s beliefs, and the reality of trans lives

Now streaming on Topic, The Loving Generation, a four-part short-form series from Lacey Schwartz Delgado and Mehret Mandifro, references in its title Loving v. Virginia, the landmark Supreme Court decision that overturned all laws that banned interracial marriage. The series interviews members of the first generation of this decision, who share their insights on blackness, whiteness and biraciality.

The Emmy-nominated Still a Brother: Inside the Negro Middle Class (1968) was produced by the acclaimed Black filmmakers William Greaves (2004 IDA Career Achievement Award honoree) and William Branch. The film explores the aspirations of a growing Black middle class, the growing Black pride movement, stereotypes and structural racism through a Black lens. It was broadcast less than three weeks after the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Still a Brother is available to stream in the American Archive of Public Broadcasting, a collaboration between Boston public media producer WGBH and the Library of Congress. 

Take This Hammer, a 1963 documentary from Richard O. Moore that is available on the Bay Area Television Archive, follows author James Baldwin around San Francisco as he interviews black residents about their lives, and delivers on-camera reflections about Black America during the Civil Rights movement and the persistence of Jim Crow.

Herbert Danska's Right On!, made in 1970 and restored in 2013 by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, was originally deemed "a conspiracy of ritual, street theater, soul music, and cinema," capturing the radical spirit of Black America in the 1960s. Featuring hip-hop pioneers the Last Poets and shot on the streets and rooftops of lower Manhattan, the film is a vital homage to Black Power. Right On! Streams on MOMA’s Magazine site through June 18.

Premiering June 16 on FRONTLINE and streaming through June, The Virus: What Went Wrong? examines why, as COVID-19 spread from Asia to the Middle East to Europe, was the US caught so unprepared? Despite repeated warnings of a potent contagion headed our way, America's leaders failed to prepare and protect us. Produced by Marcela Gaviria and Martin Smith

Premiering June 18 on HBO and streaming on all HBO platforms, Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn takes an unflinching look at the life and death of notorious attorney Roy Cohn, who first gained prominence by prosecuting Julius and Ethel Rosenberg--the grandparents of filmmaker Ivy Meeropol--in what came to be known as the "atomic spies" case. Cohn went on to represent a range of controversial figures—from Joe McCarthy to Steve Rubell to Donald Trump— in his signature ruthless manner.