Synopsis by Mark Deming
Artist and filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris grew up with a variety of divergent perspectives on the notion of African-American cultural identity. His grandfather, Albert Sidney Johnson, was an associate of W.E.B. DuBois, who believed that people of color could and should assimilate into the American cultural mainstream, and embraced the teachings of the Episcopalian church. Rudean Leinaeng, Harris' mother, believed that black Americans should celebrate their African cultural heritage, and dabbled in the spiritual teaching of several Third World religions. And Harris himself lived for a time in Tanzania, in the Westernized city of Dar-Es-Salaam, where he gained a deeper perspective on the shared confluence between American and African cultural and spiritual ideals. Using both home movies and newly shot Super-8 footage, Harris assembled E Minha Cara (That's My Face) as a document of his own personal journey into cultural identity, as well as an investigation into the broader issues of race in America, Africa, and South America. E Minha Cara was screened at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival.
Africa, artist, assimilation, Black [race], cultural-identity, filmmaker, heritage, race/ethnicity, South-America, spirituality