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Dir. David Schickele
73 min


Friday, February 16 at 7:00pm

Highlighting restored, archival, and silent cinema from Il Cinema Ritrovato's annual festival in Bologna, Italy.

About Bushman

A tracking shot follows a young man as he walks along the side of a gently sloping road. Hands in his pockets, he proceeds barefoot with a pair of Converse on his head. Ambient sounds and the barking of an off-screen dog are swallowed up by the sound of percussion and tribal song. The camera gradually approaches him as he turns around and signals to thumb a ride. Over his extreme close-up, the soundtrack blends magnificent tribal harmonies, Yoruba percussion and the sound of a harpsichord playing Henry Purcell’s Ground in C Minor. The music here introduces the story’s two locations––the United States and Nigeria––whose images (in the present and in the form of memories and flashbacks) alternate throughout the film, mapping the protagonist Gabriel’s identity. The rest of the soundtrack continues to make use of this process of synthesis; like his better-known brother Peter, the composer and polyinstrumentalist David Schickele entrusts it with the task of articulating and supporting the film’s cultural and racial discourse, also on an emotional level.

Superimposed text appears on screen: “1968: Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, Bobby Hutton are amongst the recent dead.” Then, in a parallel montage with two children in a forest carrying jars on their heads, we read “In Nigeria the civil war is entering its second year and no end is in sight.” The white smoke of the factories against the blinding light of the morning skies allows us to glimpse the outline of San Francisco while the young man finally finds someone to give him a lift. We are barely into the third minute of the film when a caustic dialogue with the biker––half-way between Sembène’s Borom Sarret and a parody of Easy Rider––subverts the tone of the prologue. With one eye on cinéma vérité, the European new waves and early Cassavetes, and the other on African pioneers like Sembène, Ecaré and Hondo, Schickele not only condemns the reactionary and racist America which will later frame Gabriel on the slightest of pretexts, but also the liberal America of progressive intellectuals who quote McLuhan and Malraux but lapse into rhetoric and misunderstand the deeper meaning of human experience. With irony, poetry and a delicate touch, Bushman leads us into the darkness of the beginnings of an odyssey. And for days, you are unable to think of anything else. —Cecilia Cenciarelli (edited)

This film is courtesy of Kino Lorber and Milestone Films

Returning to the Twin Cities for a second year, Il Cinema Ritrovato on Tour presents rare, restored, and recovered archival cinema. Il Cinema Ritrovato On Tour–Minneapolis will screen films at The Main Cinema from February 15–17, 2024. Closing night (February 18) will take place at the Heights Theater and will feature a new restoration of Ernst Lubitsch’s take on an Oscar Wilde classic, Lady Windermere’s Fan.

Presented in partnership by Archives on Screen, Twin Cities, MSP Film Society, and Cineteca di Bologna, the festival will screen highlights from Il Cinema Ritrovato’s 2023 lineup. Il Cinema Ritrovato is an annual international film festival that exhibits new restorations and archival films in Bologna, Italy.

Archives on Screen is proud to partner with Il Cinema Ritrovato and Cineteca di Bologna to curate selections from their festival for Twin Cities audiences.


Film Details

Program: Il Cinema Ritrovato On Tour
Release Year: 1971
Runtime: 73 min
Country/Region: USA
Language: English


Director: David Schickele
Cinematographer: David Myers
Screenwriter: David Schickele
Editor: Jennifer Chinlund, David Schickele
Principal Cast: Paul Eyam Nzie Okpokam (Bushman), Elaine Featherstone (Alma), Lothario Lotho (fratello di Alma), Ann Scofield (ragazza conosciuta al bar), Jack Nance (Felix), David Schickele (Mark), Donna Michelson (Diane), Patrick Gleeson (Marty)