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Bush Mama


With director Haile Gerima in person

Part of the series Changing the Picture, sponsored by Time Warner Inc.

Dir. Haile Gerima. 1975/1979, 97 mins. 16mm. With Barbara-O, Johnny Weathers. After seeing a Black woman in Chicago evicted in winter, Gerima developed Bush Mama as his UCLA thesis film. Gerima blends narrative fiction, documentary, surrealism, and political modernism in his unflinching story about a pregnant welfare recipient in Watts. Bush Mama follows Dorothy (the magnetic Barbara O. Jones) as she is subjected to the oppressive cacophony of state-sponsored terrorism against the poor in her daily dealings with the welfare office and social workers. Dorothy undergoes an ideological transformation, from apathy and passivity to empowered action.

Preceded by:

Daydream Therapy

Dir. Bernard Nicolas. 1977, 8 mins. Digital projection. With Marva Anderson, Keith Taylor, Gay Abel-Bey. Daydream Therapy, set to Nina Simone’s haunting rendition of “Pirate Jenny” and concluding with Archie Shepp’s “Things Have Got to Change,” Daydream Therapy poetically envisions the fantasy life of a hotel worker whose daydreams provide an escape from workplace indignities.

Free with Museum admission on a first-come, first-served basis. Museum members may reserve tickets in advance by calling 718 777 6800. For more information about becoming a Museum member and to join online, please click here.