This week Oak Cliff’s historic Texas Theatre will be hosting three nights of black cinema. On Thursday, February 19th at 7:30pm, the theatre will be screening Spencer Williams’ The Blood of Jesus (1941), a film from SMU’s Tyler, Texas Film Collection. Following its screening of The Blood of Jesus, on Friday, February 20th at 8pm and Saturday, February 21st at 5:30pm, the Texas Theatre will be screening Spike Lee’s new film, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2015). Da Sweet Blood of Jesus features music by Dallas rapper Buffalo Black, who will perform after Friday’s show. “The Texas Theatre is proud to work with SMU to present Spencer Williams’ rarely seen race classic,” says Barak Epstein, director of programming at the Texas Theatre. “We had been wanting to screen this film for quite some time, and the timeliness of Spike Lee’s new release made it fit our programming schedule.”
Click here for more information about the screenings. If you can’t make the screenings, The Blood of Jesus is available on demand through SMU’s Digital Collections, and Da Sweet Blood of Jesus can be rented or purchased on Vimeo.
African-American Cinema at Hamon
If you’d like to learn more about the context of these two films, Hamon is an excellent resource for learning about African-American cinema. Da Sweet Blood of Jesus is heavily based on the 1973 film Ganja and Hess, which can be accessed online through SMU’s library or on DVD at Fondren. The Tyler, Texas Film Collection includes 20 “race films” produced in the early 20th century and intended for all-black audiences. These films are available online. Hamon also holds a variety of materials on African-American films and African-American representation in films.
Feature Image from The Blood of Jesus (G. William Jones Film and Video Collection, Southern Methodist University).