Directed by Bill Gunn (USA, 1973, 113 min.). Digital.
Flirting with the conventions of blaxploitation and the horror cinema, Bill Gunn’s revolutionary independent film Ganja & Hesse is a highly stylized and utterly original treatise on sex, religion, and African American identity. Duane Jones (Night of the Living Dead) stars as anthropologist Hess Green, who is stabbed with an ancient ceremonial dagger by his unstable assistant (director Bill Gunn), endowing him with the blessing of immortality, and the curse of an unquenchable thirst for blood. When the assistant’s beautiful and outspoken wife Ganja (Marlene Clark) comes searching for her vanished husband, she and Hess form an unexpected partnership. Together, they explore just how much power there is in the blood.
Later recut and released in an inferior version, this new restoration represents the original release, restored by The Museum of Modern Art with support from The Film Foundation, and mastered in HD from a 35mm negative.
Bill Gunn fans will also want to check out Gunn’s ensemble TV drama Personal Problems, screening June 1–14.
Co-presented with the Roxbury International Film Festival.
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