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Poster for Pioneers of African American Cinema: The Exile (1931)

Pioneers of African American Cinema: The Exile (1931)

Dates with showtimes for Pioneers of African American Cinema: The Exile (1931)
  • Sun, Apr 14

Director: Oscar Micheaux Run Time: 93 min. Release Year: 1931

Starring: Charles Moore, Eunice Brooks, Stanley Morrell

Country: United States
Language: English

Thanks to the generous support of Donna and Larry James, Ingram White Castle Foundation, and Columbus City Council, Pioneers of African American Cinema returns for programming throughout 2024. On Sunday, April 14, join us at the Film Center for the screening of Oscar Micheaux’s The Exile (1931).

Additional financial support provided by the Greater Columbus Arts Council, Tom and Mary Katzenmeyer, Amundsen Davis and the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority.

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About the film:

Based on Micheaux’s novel, The Conquest, a young man named Jean in post-World War I Chicago falls in love with a beautiful girl named Edith. He proposes to her, but realizes she’s involved in the rackets and won’t leave. He later leaves her to head home in South Dakota where he becomes a successful rancher and falls in love with a white girl, but guilt from Chicago drives him back. He later runs into Edith again and re-sparks their relationship, leading to a murder case where Jean is blamed.

This is the earliest surviving sound feature by an African American filmmaker. In this film, distinct changes are noticed in Micheaux’s visual style, dialogue exchanges, and camera techniques. Similarly, much of Hollywood at the time went though he same stylistic transition during the Dawn of Sound.

About the filmmaker:

Oscar Devereaux Micheaux was an author, film writer and director, and independent producer of more than 44 silent films and sound films from 1919—1948. Micheaux was the first African American filmmaker to produce a full feature-length film and is regarded as a prominent producer of race films, and the most successful African American filmmaker of the first half of the 20th century. Micheaux’s work is not only a milestone in African American cinema, but an incredible insight into American history regarding race in society.

Born in 1884 to enslaved parents, Micheaux first left home to work for the railroads in Chicago. He had his sight set higher as a writer and a determined creative. He wrote a series of novels, including his self-published The Homesteader. Not only was Micheaux a pioneer in African American cinema, but also in independent publishing and filmmaking. After turning down offers to produce his novel into a film, he later found his own path to producing the 1919 film. Micheaux serves as a symbol of triumphing over the circumstances at hand to bring his vision to reality. The groundbreaking auteur’s features include The Symbol of the Unconquered (1920), Body and Soul (1925), Within Our Gates (1920) and Birthright (1938).

See our upcoming films
Donna and Larry James
Ingram White Castle Foundation
Columbus City Council
Greater Columbus Arts Council
Tom and Mary Katzenmeyer
Amundsen Davis
Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority
Ohio Arts Council
Greater Columbus Arts Council
The Columbus Foundation
Campus Partners
National Endowment for the Arts
CD 92.9 FM
G&J Pepsi
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