Veiled Aristocrats and Ten Minutes to Live

1932. Directed by Oscar Micheaux.

A double feature by Oscar Micheaux – widely considered the first major Black American filmmaker, and the first to produce a “talkie” – lands at AFS this week, and it’s a special one. 1932’s Veiled Aristocrats follows a light-skinned Black man who has become a successful lawyer by passing for white (played by Lorenzo Tucker, who was known as the “Black Rudolph Valentino”) returning to his hometown for a family reunion. The film is a second adaptation of Charles W. Chesnutt’s novel The House Behind The Cedars, after its first silent iteration was lost when Micheaux was forced to make cuts by the scandalized Virginia Censorship Board. Another Micheaux film, Ten Minutes to Live, screens alongside Veiled Aristocrats. Made the same year, it follows a nightclub singer who is offered a role in a producer’s film in exchange for sex. Meanwhile, a patron at her club receives a threatening note telling her she will be killed in 10 minutes. – Lina Fisher
Past date: Tue., May 21
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