Tag Archives: Magnolia Pictures


I feel lucky and blessed that I’m serving in Congress. But there are forces today trying to take us back to another time and another dark period. We’ve come so far, we’ve made so much progress. But as a nation, as a people, we’re not quite there yet. We have miles to go. — Rep. John Lewis, (D) Georgia

As someone who marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Selma and Washington D.C., Congressman Lewis—who has represented Georgia’s 5th District since 1987—knows the necessity of participating in the franchise. He spent the 1970s going door to door registering future Black voters and viscerally understands—in our current summer of reckoning—the existential challenges facing our country leading up to the November elections.

JOHN LEWIS—GOOD TROUBLE, Dawn Porter’s documentary on the life and work of the civil rights activist, is a testimony to the power of persistence and presence—of being there. As the late Maryland congressman Elijah Cummings confirms in the film, “The reason [Lewis is] effective as a leader is because he’s lived it.”

Streaming now on multiple platforms. See links below for details.


Magnolia Pictures

Laemmle Virtual Cinema, Los Angeles.

Dawn Porter, John Lewis—Good Trouble (2020), from top: John Lewis; Lewis leads Selma, Alabama, marchers, March 7, 1965, courtesy and © Birmingham News; John Lewis—Good Trouble poster, courtesy and © Magnolia Pictures, 2020; President Barack Obama presents a 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom to Lewis during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington; Lewis (far right) with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., (center) and the Reverend Ralph Abernathy (far left). Images courtesy and © Magnolia Pictures.


Navigating a white male world wasn’t threatening. It wasn’t even interesting. I knew more than them. — Toni Morrison

TONI MORRISON—THE PIECES I AM—the new documentary by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, now in theaters—is a joyous, exhilarating look at the life and work of a great American author, teacher, and editor who has always been happy to be labeled a “black writer,” a “woman writer.”

“I didn’t want to speak for black people. I wanted to speak to, and among…”

And it is shocking, in Greenfield-Sanders documentary, to come across such benighted critical voices as, say, Sara Blackburn’s in 1973, in America’s supposedly liberal newspaper of record:

“Toni Morrison is far too talented to remain only a marvelous recorder of the black side of provincial American life.”*

Removing the white male gaze as the dominant voice is a key element of Morrison’s practice, and she doesn’t hesitate calling out black writers who seemed to write to white audiences. Citing Ralph Ellison, she asks, “The Invisible Man? Invisible to whom?”

As a senior editor at Random House throughout the 1970s, Morrison discovered and championed books by Gayl Jones, Toni Cade Bambara, and Bettie Wysor (author of The Lesbian Myth). She also persuaded Angela Davis—then in her late twenties—to write her autobiography.

“Eventually I learned that the book she wanted to publish was the book I wanted to write… She helped me access my imagination in ways I continue to be grateful for today.” — Angela Davis

Song of Solomon (1977) was Morrison’s first best seller, and five years later she left her editor’s post to devote her time to writing and teaching. She’s professor emeritus at Princeton University, and often told her students, “I know you’ve been told, ‘write what you know.’ I don’t want you to do that. You don’t know anything.”

TONI MORRISON—THE PIECES I AM features interviews with Morrison’s friends and colleagues—Walter Mosley, Farah Griffin, Fran Lebowitz, Paula Giddings, Hilton Als, Sonia Sanchez, editor Robert Gottlieb, and Davis—as well as a rich selection of contemporary artwork by, among others, Mickalene Thomas, Jacob Lawrence, Gordon Parks, David Hammons, and Rashid Johnson.


Tuesday, October 22, at 7:30 pm.

The Landmark

10850 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles.

Wednesday, September 18, at 7:30 pm.

Billy Wilder Theater, Hammer Museum

10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles.

Music Hall

9036 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills.

Downtown Independent

251 South Main Street, Los Angeles.

Arclight Hollywood

6360 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles.

*Sara Blackburn, review of Sula, by Toni Morrison, New York Times, December 30, 1973.

From top: Toni Morrison, photograph from Toni Morrrison—The Pieces I Am; Morrison, photograph courtesy and © Timothy Greenfield-Sanders; Morrison with her sons Ford Morrison (left) and Slade Morrison in 1978, photograph by Jack Mitchell, Getty Images; poster courtesy Magnolia Pictures; Morrison and Greenfield-Sanders, photograph courtesy and © Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. Images courtesy and © the author, the photographers, and Magnolia Pictures.