Bushman

New York Times Critics' Pick
73 mins.
Directed by David Schickele
NR
1971
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Sun, 3/3
Tue, 3/12

New 4K restoration.

In 1968, Peace Corps veteran David Schickele enlisted his friend Paul Eyam Nzie Okpokam to star in a light-hearted comedy about the adventures of a well-educated Nigerian immigrant in San Francisco. Using a docu-fictional style reminiscent of Cassavetes' SHADOWS, the film observes the foibles of late 1960s African-American culture with an outsider's incisive eye.

The result is a vibrant snapshot of the nation's racial politics, from interracial romance to cross-cultural misunderstandings and countercultural joy.

The film morphs into a documentary when the director's voice abruptly intrudes to narrate its star’s enraging fate: Okpokam was accused of a crime he did not commit and was thrown in prison before being expelled from the country.


BUSHMAN has been restored by the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive and The Film Foundation. Funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation. Additional support provided by Peter Conheim, Cinema Preservation Alliance. A Milestone Films & Video and Kino Lorber Release.


“A film of and ahead of its time, David Schickele’s BUSHMAN—first shown in 1971 and featured at New Directors/New Films in 1972 but never formally released in New York—is finally opening in a pristine restoration. Its status as a half-forgotten outsider of American independent cinema makes a weird sort of sense.” Ben Kenigsberg. A New York Times Critic's Pick!