A true landmark of American cinema, Nothing But a Man brought to fiction filmmaking the look and style of the new “cinema vérité” documentary, from which both director Michael Roemer (The Plot Against Harry) and cinematographer Robert M. Young emerged. The film follows the relationship between the African-Americans Duff Anderson (Ivan Dixon) and Josie Dawson (Abby Lincoln). Duff decides it’s time to settle down with Josie, but her father, the local preacher, is opposed to the match. The two marry anyway, and then are forced to confront a host of problems, from illegitimate children to unemployment, racism and Duff’s drunken father. While never ignoring the social background, the film presents Duff and Josie as fully fleshed-out, complex and contradictory individuals, not merely archetypes or symbols. –NYFF
Something of a staggering masterpiece. Pretty much lays out in full American society's assault on the black man's self-confidence, within and outside the community.
In our annual poll, we pair our favorite new films of 2012 with older films seen in the same year to create fantastic double features.