With the London Olympics just around the corner, celebrate a true Olympic hero tonight as Facets shows Jesse Owens at 8:30 as part of the 10th Annual Chicago African Diaspora Film Festival. The film documents Jesse’s glories in Berlin as well as his complicated reception once he returned home. While Owens’ achievements on the track are most famous for repudiating Hitler’s theory of Aryan supremacy, they also went a long way towards disapproving America’s deeply-rooted prejudiced notions at a time when most major sports in America were still segregated because of African-Americans’ supposed inferiority.
This documentary, which Variety called a “subtle and appropriate tribute,” takes a keen look at the nuances and extenuating circumstances of Jesse Owens’ triumph in the 1936 Berlin Olympics as well as his often-challenging life on return to the states. Owens won gold medals in the 100 meters, 200 meters, long jump, and 4×100 meter relay in 1936 outclassing the Fuhrer’s Teutonic standard-bearers and making him an international icon. But one that was largely underappreciated in his home country. Jesse Owens chronicles his strained relationship with an American public that largely saw him only as a tool for winning medals and not as a man made of flesh and instilled with emotions.
There will be a pre-screening reception at 7:30 tonight with the Owens family and the South African Consulate. In addition, after the show Laurens Grant, the filmmaker, and Mr. Owens’ three daughters will answer questions from the audience. So prepare for London tonight by rooting on a thought-provoking documentary on a true American Olympic hero. U-S-A. U-S-A. U-S-A
A clip of Mr.. Owens’ triumphs in the 1936 Berlin Olympics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXIe5GbLSUs&skipcontrinter=1
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