Becoming Black

91 mins.
Directed by Ines Johnson-Spain
German with subtitles
2019

Introduction by Summer Film Institute's co-director Priscilla Layne, Associate Professor of German, Adjunct Assistant Professor of African and Afro-American Studies, Director of Graduate Admissions at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


A white couple living in East Germany in the 1960s tells their Black child that her skin color is purely by chance and has no meaning. This is what the girl believes, until, as a teenager, she accidentally discovers the truth: Lucien, her dad, was a student from Togo and her married mother had an affair with him.

The child is filmmaker Ines Johnson-Spain. This intimate documentary is an examination of social and political implications that testify to a culture of rejection and structural racism.