BFI Black Star ICO National Tour


BFI Black Star is the UK’s biggest ever season of film dedicated to celebrating the range, versatility and power of black actors in some of the finest performances ever committed to film.The season puts stars of the past and present back on the big screen, recognising the vital role black actors have played in the history of cinema.
Drawing on the pioneering performances of the earlier days of cinema (The Proud Valley), through overlooked masterpieces (Nothing But a Man), to modern day classics (The Color Purple, Glory), Black Star showcases the work of actors classic and contemporary, from early pioneer Dorothy Dandridge to icons like Morgan Freeman, Whoopi Goldberg, Paul Robeson and Denzel Washington.
Crossing genres, generations and the Atlantic, BFI Black Star celebrates performances that will inspire audiences and champions films that deserve to burn long in the memory.

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A month of heritage & classic films at The Welfare Ystradgynlais - Carmen JonesCarmen Jones (U) (1954)
Sunday 20 November,  4pm

In the perfect mix of opera and sexuality, Dorothy Dandridge (Porgy & Bess) heads up the all-black cast in Otto Preminger’s wartime update of Bizet’s opera Carmen by way of Oscar Hammerstein II. Dandridge smoulders in the title role as the temptress who lures handsome GI Joe (Harry Belafonte) from his fiancée Cindy Lou (Olga James), in the first Oscar-nominated performance by an African-American woman. Joe, an obedient corporal is all ready to go to flight school and marry his sweetheart until Carmen enters the picture with disastrous consequences. Preminger took a major risk in pursuing this film in the culturally conservative 1950s, but it paid off, becoming an instant box office hit and propelling Dandridge into stardom.

A month of classic & heritage films at the Welfare Ystradgynlais - The Proud ValleyThe Proud Valley (PG) (1940)
Wednesday 30 November, 7pm

Pen Tennyson directs this Ealing Studios drama set in a Welsh mining valley. In a role written for him, actor, singer and activist Paul Robeson stars as David Goliath, a charismatic African-American drifter who ends up in a small mining village in Wales. There, he finds work alongside the miners down the pit, and his magnificent singing voice attracts the attention of local choir director Dick Parry (Simon Lack), who has ambitions of winning the national choir contest on the strength of Goliath’s talent. However, a mining disaster puts both of these occupations on hold, and Goliath rouses a group of activists to march to London in the hope of reopening the mine in time to serve the nation’s wartime needs. It remains today an almost unique depiction of on-screen blackness for the time, with a multi-faceted hero: a politically active working man who transcends race and nationality.

This is all part of our month of Classic & Heritage Films!
Visit our website for more information on Anthropoid (15) (2016), The Battle of The Somme (PG) (1916) and Ystrad in Lights – Tick Tock and More.