Body and Soul
The finest film from the first Black American film director, Oscar Micheaux.
Dir Oscar Micheaux
With Paul Robeson, Mercedes Gilbert, Julia Theresa Russell, Lawrence Chenault
With live piano accompaniment
Body and Soul, made for a segregated Black audience, is a key work of pioneering African American filmmaker Oscar Micheaux, although it’s perhaps more famous for being the film debut of Paul Robeson (and it’s quite a debut). Robeson plays Rev Isaiah T Jenkins, a scheming convict impersonating a minister who mesmerises and attempts to swindle his congregation, and Robeson also plays his alter ego, Isaiah’s long-lost twin brother Sylvester. The unusual structure explores the use of memory and dreams in dealing with violence and immorality.