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Seven Songs for Malcolm X (1993)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

After an introductory session on the assassination as onlookers recall it - dealing with foreboding, prophecy and FBI foreknowledge - and a brief scene-setting looking at the media buzz surrounding Lee's film, the first of the seven sections, 'The Seventh Son' examines Malcolm's roots, in particular the fervent Garveyism in his family, his preacher father's political outspokenness and violent death, his Grenada-born mother's activism, harassment and mental breakdown.

'Seven Years in Seventh Heaven' summarises Malcolm's Harlem years as a zoot-suited street kid, the story of his move to the Nation of Islam (NOI) in prison, and his family's role in this conversion.

'The Hour Of The New Negro' ties in his own role in massively expanding the Nation of Islam's reach and significance with the coming to prominence of Civil Rights in American public life; 'Now's The Time' recounts the new possibilities and jealousies that his activism in Harlem begins to awaken, Malcolm's differences with the Civil Rights line and his growing disillusionment with NOI leader Elijah Muhammad and the establishment within the NOI.

'The Hour Of The Knife' begins with JFK's assassination and Malcolm's comments on it about "chickens coming home to roost", Elijah Muhammad's use of this to discipline and silence him, and the break with the NOI. 'The Hour of Revolution' details his subsequent opening to broad alliances and internationalism, in particular the political links he made in Africa and the formation of his own Afro-American Organisation of Unity.

'The End Is Nigh' returns to his assassination, his promise to expose the NOI, the extensive FBI infiltration of the NOI, real and imagined reasons why he was assassinated, and by whom, and further meditation on why his ghost has returned, and what leaders might be for.

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