Suzanne, Suzanne (1982) 4K Restoration & Older Women and Love (1987)
Director: Camille Billops, James Hatch Run Time: 60 min. Release Year: 1982
Language: United States
Double Feature presented as part of the retrospective series A String of Pearls: The Films of Camille Billops and James Hatch
Suzanne, Suzanne (1982) 4K Restoration
This poignant documentary profiles a young Black woman—Billops’ niece Suzanne Browning—as she confronts a legacy of physical abuse and its role in her descent into substance abuse. Family remembrances reveal the truth behind her addiction: Suzanne and her mother were victims of domestic abuse at the hands of the family patriarch. Suzanne is compelled to understand her father’s violence and her mother’s passive complicity, who suffered at her husband’s hands as well, as the keys to her own self-destruction. After years of silence, Suzanne and her mother are finally able to share their painful experiences with each other in an intensely moving moment of truth.
“Remains one of the most powerful documentaries of domestic life.”
—bell hooks, Reel to Real
In 2016, Suzanne, Suzanne (1982) was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
Older Women and Love (1987)
Through interviews and dramatizations, this taboo-shattering film offers a touching and often humorous look at social attitudes toward relationships between older women and younger men. The filmmakers are involved on both sides of the camera as they direct their multiracial cast in an insightful profile of older-younger relationships, while their subjects are candid and comfortable discussing the joys and problems of loving someone of a different generation.
“Dispels myths about the type of sexual life older women enjoy… focusing on strong women who battle to get their way and who also pay the price by taking risks…”
—Black American Literature Forum
About the filmmakers:
Camille Billops (1933-2019) was a fearless filmmaker, artist, sculptor, historian, archivist, and staunch supporter of Black art and artists. Billops came into her own within the converging contexts of the 1960s civil and human rights struggles, New York’s emerging Black artists movement, and her personal struggles for affirmation. Her work is autobiographical, interpretive, and challenging. Without apology, she successfully drew from her life’s experiences, her education, and her observations of the world around her to carve out a space for her voice to be heard. She and her husband James made their loft in SoHo a hub for artistic collaborations, collecting thousands of books, documents, photographs, and ephemera related to Black culture. They held salons with Black artists, performers, and musicians, and recorded more than 1,200 oral histories, which were published in an annual journal called Artist and Influence.
James V. Hatch (1928-2020) was a historian of Black theater who taught English and theater at the City College of New York for three decades. He has written and co-written more than a dozen books, including “The Roots of African American Drama: An Anthology of Early Plays, 1858-1938” (1990), which he edited with Leo Hamalian, and “Sorrow Is the Only Faithful One: The Life of Owen Dodson” (1993), about the titular Black poet and playwright.See our upcoming films