Grace Lee Boggs is a 98-year-old Chinese American woman in Detroit whose vision of revolution will surprise you. A writer, activist, and philosopher rooted for more than 70 years in the African American movement, she has devoted her life to an evolving revolution that encompasses the contradictions of America’s past and its potentially radical future.
Saturday, November 16, 2:00pm
“American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs” with Q&A with Grace Lee Boggs and film director/producer
One screening only through DOC NYC film festival- BUY TICKETS NOW!
School of Visual Arts Theatre (on 333 West 23rd street, between 8th and 9th Avenues)
The documentary film, AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY: THE EVOLUTION OF GRACE LEE BOGGS, plunges us into Boggs’s lifetime of vital thinking and action, traversing the major U.S. social movements of the last century; from labor to civil rights, to Black Power, feminism, the Asian American and environmental justice movements and beyond. Boggs’s constantly evolving strategy—her willingness to re-evaluate and change tactics in relation to the world shifting around her—drives the story forward. Angela Davis, Bill Moyers, Bill Ayers, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, Danny Glover, Boggs’s late husband James and a host of Detroit comrades across three generations help shape this uniquely American story. As she wrestles with a Detroit in ongoing transition, contradictions of violence and non-violence, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, the 1967 rebellions, and non-linear notions of time and history, Boggs emerges with an approach that is radical in its simplicity and clarity: revolution is not an act of aggression or merely a protest. Revolution, Boggs says, is about something deeper within the human experience — the ability to transform oneself to transform the world.
As it kinetically unfurls an evolving life, city, and philosophy, AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY takes the viewer on a journey into the power of ideas and the necessity of expansive, imaginative thinking, as well as ongoing dialectical conversation, to propel societal change.
Produced and directed by Grace Lee (JANEANE FROM DES MOINES, THE GRACE LEE PROJECT), edited by Kim Roberts (FOOD INC, WAITING FOR SUPERMAN, LOST BOYS OF SUDAN, INEQUALITY FOR ALL), produced by Caroline Libresco (SUNSET STORY) and Austin Wilkin (BOB AND THE MONSTER), and with a lush score by Vivek Maddala (KABOOM, HIGHWAY), AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY: THE EVOLUTION OF GRACE LEE BOGGS, has been 12 years in the making. It incorporates a rich archival trove from the 1920s to the present and visual effects to reinforce Boggs’s statement that history “is the story of the past as well as the future.” Animated graphics by Syd Garon and Casey Ryder from Studio Number One bring Boggs’s whirring mind to life, illustrating her view that ideas are not fixed, but that once they become fixed, they are dead.
In an age when seemingly insurmountable injustices and contradictions face us, AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY inspires concerned citizens and dreamers of all ages with new thinking to sustain their struggle and engagement.
A world dominated by America and driven by cheap oil, easy credit, and conspicuous consumption is unraveling before our eyes. Drawing from seven decades of movement-building experience, Grace Lee Boggs shows how to create the radical social change we need to confront new realities. From her home in Detroit, she reveals how hope and creativity are overcoming despair and decay within the most devastated urban communities.
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