James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket

Director: Karen Thorsen
Screenwriters: Douglas K. Dempsey, Karen Thorsen

Institute History


An emotional portrait, a social critique and a passionate and eloquent plea for human equality, this documentary tells James Baldwin's story in his own words. Using interviews from many of Baldwin's close friends, colleagues and critics, Karen Thorsen has created one of the finest portraits of a creative artist ever made. Appearing in the film are Baldwin's brother David; his biographer David Leeming; writers Maya Angelou, Amiri Baraka, William Styron, lshmael Reed and Yashar Kemal; painter Lucien Happersberger, and entertainer Bobby Short.

James Baldwin, internationally acclaimed author of Go Tell It on the Mountain, Giovanni's Room, and Another Country, helped shape black American fiction, giving it a unique and beautiful voice. A teacher, preacher and prophet, the gifted Baldwin wrote and spoke about injustices and ignorance, yet always believed "… all men are brothers."

The Los Angeles Times called The Price of the Ticket "a haunting, beautifully made biography …." The New York Times said the film "succeeds remarkably in getting into the mind and spirit of the most celebrated black American writer of his time …." This film should not be missed.

— Mitchell Block

Screening Details

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