Shirley Chisholm made history in 1972 as the first black woman to run for President of theUS. This documentary chronicles her run, doing so with a mixture of archival footage and newinterviews with people who were involved with her campaign, as well as those who wereinspired by it. Presented without a narration, the film lets the interview subjects and the film clipsspeak for themselves, backed by a very 70s funk soundtrack. Chisholm herself comes across as apassionate and …ommitted politician, of a type very difficult to locate today.
Though, as I’ve said before, elaborate sound design is rather beside the point with adocumentary, some attention has been paid to surround capabilities here, so when, for instance,the crowd applauds one of Chisholm’s speeches, one is right there in the middle of the clapping.The music has a decent, big-sounding mix. As for the dialogue, which is what really counts here,the results are variable. There is obviously plenty of gurgle and whatnot in the archival footage,but that is to be expected. Less happy is the sibilance that sometimes mars the newinterviews.
The picture is 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, but the opening titles look a little trimmed bythe edge of the frame. The colours, blacks, and flesh tones of the new footage are all fine, andthere is no grain here. The older footage has the inevitably variable quality of older newsmaterial, but is always watchable.
Simultaneously inspiring and depressing, this is a tale that deserves renewed attention.