Body and Soul: Black History Month Movie

February is black history month, and given Oregon State University’s current Oswalt (f*ck-that-guy) fiasco, how about a bit of positive news and celebration for African-American history and culture? 

OSU’s School of Arts and Communication presents a screening of Body and Soul, a 1925 film by the groundbreaking filmmaker, Oscar Micheaux. The film features the debut role of Paul Robeson, remembered for his talents in singing, acting, and athleticism.

In the film, Robeson plays double roles as a corrupt escape convict posing as a preacher, and his do-gooder twin brother. Love, murder, theft, and sexual misconduct drive the plot of this coined race film, consisting of an all-black cast. 

Body and Soul is one of only a few of Micheaux’s films to survive, and one of less than 100 of the 500 race films produced between 1915 and the 1950s, due to their production being outside of Hollywood and unpopular in mainstream media.

The modern screening is fully restored for the Pioneers of African-American Cinema Collection, and features a new original score by DJ Spooky, aka Paul D. Miller. 

Miller teamed up with an ensemble of Northwest Musicians to produce the live recorded score, and has an esteemed history in the musical realms – having worked alongside a diverse array musicians, from Metallica, to Chuck D, to Yoko Ono. He is also the editor of Orion Magazine and has had work featured in Village Voice, The Source, and Artforum.

Body and Soul premieres at the LaSells Stewart Center, Friday, February 2, at 7:30 p.m. Advance tickets are $35 or $45. Tickets at the door, are $40 or $50, and can be purchased at the box office prior to entry. Purchase tickets now, through the link on the OSU event page. 

 By Stevie Beisswanger