Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask

Director: Isaac Julien
Screenwriters: Frantz Fanon, Isaac Julien, Mark Nash

Institute History

  • 1997 Sundance Film Festival


The esteemed director of such films as Looking for Langston and Young Soul Rebels, Isaac Julien returns to Sundance with a work of stunning artistry and intelligence. Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask is a complex portrait of a psychiatrist, theorist, and revolutionary who became the avenging angel of the decolonization movement. Born in Martinique, Fanon moved to France to join the resistance and study psychiatry. Upon arriving in Paris, Fanon’s assimilationist illusions were shattered by the gaze of metropolitan racism. For the first time, he saw himself as he was seen: as the colonized, dehumanized other.

Recognizing the parallel between his own struggle and that of the colonized, Fanon secured a post at a mental hospital in Algeria and became a militant member of the Algerian National Liberation Front, a condemned traitor of the French army, a poet, a theorist, and a radical psychiatrist. By passionately denouncing racism and calling for the “wretched of the earth” to unite, Fanon became an inspiration to Third World revolutionaries worldwide. Through an intricate pastiche of archival material, dramatic recreations, and interviews with colleagues, critics, and family, Isaac Julien presents a remarkably complex portrait of Franz Fanon.

— Rebecca Yeldham

Screening Details

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