The Black Film Ambassador: The Ecstatic World of Albert Johnson
Taking its title from Josslyn Luckett’s Fall 2021 Film Quarterly article, this spotlight series is dedicated to film critic, scholar, curator, and educator Albert Johnson (1925–1998) and is part of our ongoing celebration of five decades of year-round film programming at BAMPFA. A pillar of the Bay Area film scene, Johnson helped to create a thriving local film culture. He was a cofounder of Film Quarterly, a senior lecturer in the Department of African American Studies at UC Berkeley, and program director of the San Francisco International Film Festival from 1965 to 1972. A lover of and authority on musicals, he was described in the Guardian by film critic and historian David Robinson as “an all-singing, all-dancing scholar and a teacher who exerted the enchantment of a pied piper.” An inveterate traveler, Johnson presented American independent films alongside Hollywood classics around the world and brought the best of world cinema back to the Bay Area. The four films in this series—Satyajit Ray’s Charulata, Larry Clark’s Passing Through, Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust, and Jacques Demy’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg—gesture toward the breadth of his interests and provide a welcome opportunity to celebrate his brilliant legacy.
Luckett will be in conversation with director Larry Clark at the screening of Passing Through, presented in collaboration with Film Quarterly.
—Kate MacKay, Associate Film Curator
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