On Sunday, May 9, the Harvey B. Gantt Center held its monthly Classic Black Cinema series and this month, they showed the 1936 film The Green Pastures, adapted from the 1928 novel Ol’ Man Adam an’ His Chillun.
This motion picture depicts Old Testament biblical stories through the lens of Southern “black folk” and stars some of this decade’s most notable Black actors including Rex Ingram, Oscar Polk, and Edna Mae Harris.
Sunday’s event was held in a dimly lit side room located in the lobby. The room was fairly small but had enough room for all the movie goers and then some. Most of the people who attended were middle aged adults who were warm and inviting.
At the back of the room was a white clothed table decorated with refreshments of all sorts. There were cupcakes, vanilla and chocolate, green and black olives, pepperoni wrapped mozzarella sticks, fruits, cubes of colby jack cheeses, and sliced turkey wraps.
They also served small cans of soda and water but the line formed quickly so you definitely have to be quick in getting your share!
Overall, I was really impressed with this film for the period of time in which it was created. Evidently, The Green Pastures is a white man’s perspective on a Black person’s world but aside from color, the representation of the Biblical stories were enriching, captivating, and well put together.
At the end of the film, the host of the series went to the front of the room and asked if there were any newcomers in which I looked around and proceeded to meekly raise my hand. He gave instructions on how things go after a film ends in which a question about the movie is asked and the first person to answer the question correctly is given a prize.
Additionally, movie goers were given the opportunity to give their own opinions and critiques of the film which led to further discussion of what other black movies they wanted to see (they mentioned some classics by the way!)
All in all, the event was laid back and very enjoyable. Will I be back? Probably so; I mean a free movie, free entry into the museum (as far as I was concerned), AND free food? It doesn’t get any better than that.