After making history as the first African-American Congresswoman, Brooklynite Shirley Chisholm went one better by becoming the first black person <I>and</I> the first woman to run a high-profile campaign in the U.S. presidential primary. That inspiring if rocky road is recapped in first-time helmer Shola Lynch's "Chisholm '72 -- Unbought & Unbossed." Solid, straightforward docu should prove a durable broadcast and educational item for years to come.

After making history as the first African-American Congresswoman, Brooklynite Shirley Chisholm went one better by becoming the first black person and the first woman to run a high-profile campaign in the U.S. presidential primary. That inspiring if rocky road is recapped in first-time helmer Shola Lynch’s “Chisholm ’72 — Unbought & Unbossed.” Solid, straightforward docu should prove a durable broadcast and educational item for years to come.

Wealth of archival behind-the-scenes and TV news footage sets the stage as President Nixon’s first term comes to a close. Her forthright stances on Vietnam, school busing, women’s and minority advancement made the assertive, down-to-earth Chisholm a grassroots favorite — particularly among youth and feminists. But as a relative newcomer, she lacked strong insider alliances, and believed her gender, more than her race, alienated fellow politicos (and even members of the Black Congressional Caucus). Mainstream media treated her as little more than a novelty. Ultimately, George McGovern won the Democratic nomination. Now elderly, Chisholm still takes justifiable pride in being a “catalyst for change” who paved way for others. Lynch flirts with early ’70s style via old-school funk music and split-screen imagery; tech aspects are decent.

Chisholm '72 - Unbought & Unbossed

Production

A Real Side production in association with POV, ITVS and National Black Broadcast Consortium. Produced by Shola Lynch, Phil Bertelsen. Executive producer, Ramon Hervey. Directed by Shola Lynch.

Crew

Camera (color, Sony HD cam), Sandi Sissel; editor, Sam Pollard; music, Barry Eastmond. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (competing), Jan. 17, 2004. Running time: 77 MIN.

With

Shirley Chisholm, Amiri Baraka, Susan Brownmiller, Ronald Dellums, Barbara Lee, Bobby Seale.
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