Cinema St. Louis presentations

Within Our Gates 
Oscar Micheaux, U.S., 1920, 79 min. 

“Within Our Gates,” writer-director Oscar Micheaux’s impassioned response to D.W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation,” shines a revealing light on the racism of U.S. society, provocatively including scenes of lynching and attempted rape. Micheaux was a pioneering African-American filmmaker and novelist whose career stretched from the silent era through the 1940s. “Within Our Gates,” the oldest surviving “race” film, was thought lost until a single print was discovered in Spain in 1990 and restored by the Library of Congress in 1992. This screening featured an original score by Cairo, Ill.’s Stace England, who recently released “The Amazing Oscar Micheaux,” a CD of songs inspired by the filmmaker’s life and work.

"In inviting Stace England and the Salt Kings to compose an original score for a screening of “Within Our Gates” at the 2009 St. Louis International Film Festival, I hoped they’d provide a fresh perspective on a seemingly distant era, and I’m delighted at how fully that goal was met.  The band’s electrified Americana proved startlingly contemporary yet utterly appropriate, with the score’s blues and country roots nurtured by the same fertile (and often blood-soaked) soil that yielded Oscar Micheaux’s film."

     Cliff Froehlich, Executive Director 

Co-presented by Washington U.’s Center for the Study of Ethics and Human Values


Cinema St. Louis

3547 Olive Street
St. Louis, MO 63103-1014