Film Reviews, Articles from Books and Journals, and Texts by Greaves

The bibliography on which this page is based was assembled by Aurore Spiers for the forthcoming book, William Greaves: Filmmaking as Mission, due out in 2021 from Columbia University Press.
The entries are organized into three groups.
–The first group is Reviews About a Specific Film. The film titles are listed in alphabetical order (ignoring the first word “The”.) When a review of a film mention a few other films, the review is listed under the title of the main film being discussed.
–The second group, All General Reviews and Articles, has articles from books, journals and news outlets that speak more generally about his work, or about the nature/history of Black filmmaking.
–The third group is All Texts by Greaves + Interviews with him.
Please note:
In cases where he wrote about a specific film, it’s listed under that film title in the first group.
Overall, the items within each group are listed chronologically, with the most recent item first.
Most of the 115 items are available here as PDFs. In some cases, we also provide the link to read it online when it’s easily accessible that way. And then in some cases, we only provide an online link.
When you click on an item in the list below, it will jump you to that section.

REVIEWS ABOUT A SPECIFIC FILM

BLACK JOURNAL

Rewatching Black Journal Five Decades On

The Revolution was Televised: On the Legacy of Black Journal by Craig Hubert. BlouinArtInfo, February 11, 2015

The Black Body as Archive of Memory by Jonathan Scott Holloway. In Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory and Identity in Black America Since 1940 (Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2013): 67-101. (Repeated on this list 3 times because the article discusses Black Journal, The First World Festival of Negro Arts and Still a Brother: Inside the Negro Middle Class in depth.)

No Thanks for Tokenism: Telling Stories from a Black Nation, Black Journal 1968-1970. Excerpted from Black Power TV (2013), Devorah Heitner, pp. 85-98

‘Regular Television Put to Shame by Negro Production’: Picturing a Black World on Black Journal by Devorah Heitner. In Beretta E. Smith-Shomade, ed., Watching While Black: Centering the Television of Black Audiences (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2012), 77-88.

Breaking Through Black Journal by St. Clair Bourne. Black Renaissance, Summer/Fall 2002

Male-Directed New Black Independent Cinema by Mark A. Reid. In Redefining Black Film (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993): 125-136.

Black Journal: A Personal Look Backward by St. Clair Bourne (1989) at Documentary.org

Black Journal Is Syndicated by Gerald Fraser. New York Times, November 10, 1977

Blacks and Public TV by James D. Williams. Black Enterprise, January 1974, 31–33

Hooks, FCC Commissioner: Keep Black Journal on the Air. New York Amsterdam News, January 20, 1973

Black Journal in Ethiopia by Lawrence Laurent. Washington Post, August 1, 1970

Black Journal: A Few Notes from the Executive Producer by William Greaves. Television Quarterly 8.4 (Fall 1969): 66-72.

Journal Gets NATRA Award by Ramsey Clark in The Greater Milwaukee Star (September 13, 1969): 13.

NET Black Journal Ended Era of ‘Thanks for Tokenism,’ Producers Say by George De Pue. Variety, September 18, 1968

11 Negro Staff Members Quit N.E.T. Black Journal Program by Robert E. Dallos in The New York Times, August 21, 1968

THE FIGHT

Two Fighters on Film by William Greaves in African American Review 50.4 (Winter 2017): 587-589 (Note: Published in 2017 but written circa 1980.)

The Muhammad Ali Documentary that Gets to the Existential Heart of Boxing by Richard Brody (2016) at NewYorker.com

The Screen: Ali-Frazier Bout Is Star of The Fighters by Vincent Canby in The New York Times, January 5, 1974

THE FIRST WORLD FESTIVAL OF NEGRO ARTS

Diasporic Returns in the Jet Age: The First World Festival of Negro Arts and the Promise of Air Travel by Tobias Wofford. Interventions 20:7 (2018): 952-964.

The Performance of Pan-Africanism: Staging the African Renaissance at the First World Festival of Negro Arts by David Murphy. Introduction to The First World Festival of Negro Arts, Dakar 1966 (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2016): 1-42.

‘The Next Best Thing to Being There’: Covering the 1966 Dakar Festival and its Legacy in Black Popular Magazines by Tsitsi Jaji. In The First World Festival of Negro Arts, Dakar 1966 (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2016): 121-123.

Negritude Musicology: Poetry, Performance, and Statecraft in Senegal by Tsitsi Jaji. In Africa in Stereo: Modernism, Music, and Pan-African Solidarity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014): 66-110.

The Black Body as Archive of Memory by Jonathan Scott Holloway. In Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory and Identity in Black America Since 1940 (Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2013): 67-101. (Repeated in this list 3 times because the article discusses Black Journal, The First World Festival of Negro Arts and Still a Brother: Inside the Negro Middle Class in depth.)

The First World Festival of Negro Arts: An Afro-American View by William Greaves in The Crisis 73.6 (June-July 1966): 309-314, 332.

FROM THESE ROOTS

From These Roots in the Chicago Metro News (September 27, 1975): 16.

IDA B. WELLS: A PASSION FOR JUSTICE

IN THE COMPANY OF MEN

Log: In the Company of Men by William Greaves in Film Library Quarterly 3.1 (Winter 1969-70): 29-34.

JUST DOIN’ IT

William Greaves: Just Doin’ It (1976): An Analysis: by Sonja Bahn-Coblans and Arno Heller (Göttingen: WVT Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 1997). The full text is reprinted in William Greaves: Filmmaking as Mission.

MALCOLM X: NATIONALIST OR HUMANIST?

Madeline Anderson in Conversation: Pioneering an African American Documentary Tradition by Michael T. Martin. In Black Camera 5.1 (Fall 2013): 72-93.

THE MARIJUANA AFFAIR

Every Nigger Is a Star: Reimagining Blackness from Post–Civil Rights America to the Postindependence Caribbean by Erica Moiah James. Black Camera 8.1 (Fall 2016): 55-83.

The Marijuana Affair Now Ready for Release in the Indianapolis Recorder (October 4, 1975): 10.

NATIONTIME

A Landmark in Black Politics on Documentary of the Week with Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers. August 21, 2020

The Defeat of Black Power: Civil Rights and the National Black Political Convention of 1972 by Leonard N. Moore, LSU Press, February 15, 2018

RALPH BUNCHE: AN AMERICAN ODYSSEY

Film at Empress honors Nobel Peace Prize winner: Director’s widow talks about husband’s work by Richard Freedman (2019) at TimesHeraldOnline.com

Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey, Produced by William Greaves; Citizen King, Produced by Orlando Bagwell and W. Noland Walker by P. McCalin. Political Communication 24.4 (2007): 489-491.

The Story of Ralph Bunche Through William Greaves by Jacqueline Di Chiara in AIM: America’s Intercultural Magazine 31.2 (2004): 46-48.

The BFC/A Announces the New William Greaves Collection. Black Camera 18. 2 (Fall/Winter 2003): 7, 11.

Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey: The Making of the Movie–An Interview with filmmaker William Greaves by David Sterrit (ca. 2001)

Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey by Dennis Harvey (2001) at Variety.com

STILL A BROTHER: INSIDE THE NEGRO MIDDLE CLASS

The Black Body as Archive of Memory by Jonathan Scott Holloway. In Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory and Identity in Black America Since 1940 (Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2013): 67-101. (Repeated on this list 3 times because the article discusses Black Journal, The First World Festival of Negro Arts and Still a Brother: Inside the Negro Middle Class in depth.)

Introduction: Performing Citizenship by Vershawn Ashanti Young. In From Bourgeois to Boojie: Black Middle-Class Performances (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2011): 1-38.

N.E.T. Program Views Negro Middle Class by Jack Gould, The New York Times, April 30, 1968

Negro Middle Class ‘Revolution’ Subject of Negro-Made TV Show by Robert E. Dallos in The New York Times, April 28, 1968

Still a Brother (1968) in The New York Times, April 28, 1968

SYMBIOPSYCHOTAXIPLASM: TAKE ONE and TAKE 2 1/2

Because many reviews of the Symbiopsychotaxiplasm films refer to both Take One and Take 2 1/2, they’re combined and listed in chronological order, beginning with the most recent.

William Greaves: Psychodrama, Interruption, and Circulation by Fia Backström and Martine Syms, Princeton University, February 21, 2020

Human Life Isn’t Necessarily Well-written: William Greaves’s Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One and Take 2 ½. Chapter 5 of Rewriting Indie Cinema: Improvisation, Psychodrama, and the Screenplay by J.J. Murphy (New York: Columbia University Press, 2019).
To purchase the book, click here.

50 Years Later, We Still Don’t Know Whether This Film Is Fact or Fiction by Shelby Shaw (2018) at Hyperallergic.com
Or to read online, click here.

Criterion Reflections – Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One (2017) by David Blakeslee at CriterionCast.com

1961-1970 Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One, William Greaves by Camille Bui (in French) in Cahiers du Cinéma 738 (November 2017): 19

In a (Not So) Silent Way: Listening Past Black Visuality in Symbiopsychotaxiplasm by Charles “Chip” P. Linscott. Black Camera 8.1 (Fall 2016): 169-190.

Explaining Varda’s Lions Love: A European Director Responds to an American Cultural Marketplace by Brandon J. Colvin. In Studies in French Cinema 16.1 (2016): 19-31.

A Cool Criterion Summer #5– Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One by Jack Gattanella (2016) at Cinetarium.blogspot.com
Or to read online, click here.

The Daring, Original, and Overlooked Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One by Richard Brody (2015) at The New Yorker

Come On, Alice, Stop Acting!” Scriptedness and the Radical Method by Shonni Enelow. In Method Acting and Its Discontents: On American Psycho-Drama (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2015). Chapter 5

Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One by Edgar Cochran (2014) at Letterboxd.com
Or to read online, click here.

Man with a Plan: William Greaves in Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One by Michael Koresky (2014) at Criterion.com

‘Just Another Word for Jazz’: The Signifying Auteur in William Greaves’s Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One by Akiva Gottlieb. In Black Camera 5.1 (Fall 2013): 164-183.

Desegregating Film History by Scott MacDonald. In Adventures in Perception (U. of California Press, 2009): 10-80

William Greaves: A Night To RememberAn event at the Stranger than Fiction series in New York, February 18, 2009

Event – Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One (2008) at NYEmmys.org

William Greaves’s Symbiopsychotaxiplasm by Michael Koresky (2008) at ReverseShot.org
Or to read online, click here.

Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One by Noel Murray (2007) at AVClub.com
Or to read online, click here.

Film Within a Film in 60’s Time Capsule? Groovy by Manohla Dargis (2006) at NYTimes.com

Symbiopsychotaxiplasm Take One and Take 2 ½ –interview with Greaves by Robert Chilcott (2006) at CloseUpFilmCentre.com
Or to read online, click here.

Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Two Takes by Preston Jones (2006) at DVDTalk.com
Or to read online, click here.

Still No Answers by Amy Taubin (2006) for the Criterion Collection DVD release

Sundance Nurtures Low and High by Manohla Dargis (2005) at NYTimes.com

Sign of the Times: William Greaves’s Symbiopsychotaxiplasms by Jonathan Romney (2005) in Modern Painters (December 2005/January 2006): 44-47

Sundance is for Independents by Scott Foundras (2005) for LAWeekly.com
Or to read online, click here.

High ’60s Groove by Nathan Lee (2005) at NYSun.com
Or to read online, click here.

Ostriches in the Snow by Amy Taubin (2005) in Film Comment

Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One by Michael Atkinson (2005) at VillageVoice.com

The Country in the City, Chapter 7 in The Garden in the Machine: A Field Guide to Independent Films About Place by Scott MacDonald. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001): 223-246.

What a long, strange trip it’s been – William Greaves’s Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One by Maria San Filippo. Film History 13. 2 (2001): 216-225.

William Greaves (writings) by Scott MacDonald. In Screen Writings: Scripts and Texts by Independent Filmmakers (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995): 31-48.
This chapter includes three elements:
–Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One: Director’s Early Notes Prior to and during Production in the Spring of 1968
–Transcript of an excerpt from Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One
–Program Notes for Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One

William Greaves/Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One (1968)/August 8, 1991, Erik Barnouw and Patricia R. Zimmermann—interview with Greaves in Wide Angle 13.1-4 (1995): 128-134.

Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One: Film History Revised by Adam Knee. Sightlines 25, no. 4 (1992), pp. 10-12

1991 William Greaves—on Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One (1971) by Patricia R. Zimmermann and Scott MacDonald. Edited discussion of the film at the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, in The Flaherty: Decades in the Cause of Independent Cinema (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2017): 226-230. (Note: Published in 2017, but the text/event is from 1991)

VOICE OF LA RAZA

Government-Sponsored Film and Latinidad: Voice of La Raza (1971) by Laura Isabel Serna, Chapter 15 in Screening Race in Nontheatrical Film edited by Allyson Nadia Field and Marsha Gordon (Duke University Press, 2019): 313-332

Black Filmmaker Gets Atlanta Festival Award in The Greater Milwaukee Star (July 17, 1971): 7.

General reviews and articles about Greaves

Firelight Media Creates New Fund to Support Filmmakers of Color by N. Jamiyla Chrisholm (2020) at ColorLines.com

A short history of black US indie cinema by Ashley Clark (2018) at BFI.org

‘This Film Is a Rebellion!’: Filmmaker, Actor, Black Journal Producer, and Political Activist William Greaves (1926–2014) by Noelle Griffis. Black Camera 6.2 (Spring 2015): 7-16.

Peeling Back the Layers of Black Indie Film by A.O. Scott (2015) at NYTimes.com
Or to read online, click here.

Tell It Like It Is: Black Independents in New York by Violet Lucca (2015) at FilmComment.com

Black-White Couples and Internal Decolonization by Jon Cowans. In Empire Films and the Crisis of Colonialism, 1946–1959 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015): 289-333.

Greaves, Willam 1926-2014 by Kay Eastman and Brenna Sanchez. In Contemporary Black Biography: Profiles from the International Black Community, Volume123. Margaret Mazurkiewicz, ed. (Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, 2015): 66-69.

William Greaves, a Documentarian and Pioneering Journalist, Dies at 87 by Mel Watkins (2014) at NYTimes.com
Or to read online, click here.

Black Dox: Canadian Friends Remember William Greaves – An Outsider Who Brought Soul by Nicole Franklin (2014) at ByBlacks.com

William Greaves, TV host and filmmaker, dead at 87 by Hillel Italie (2014) at APNews.com

William Greaves (1926-2014): Experimental filmmaker and documentarian by Noel Murray (2014) at TheDissolve.com

The Black Body as Archive of Memory by Jonathan Scott Holloway. In Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory and Identity in Black America Since 1940 (Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2013): 67-101.

Documentary for Television, the ‘Golden Years’, 1951-71 by Betsy A. McLane. In A New History of Documentary Film: Second Edition (2012): 185-201.

William Greaves to Receive 2012 Paul Robeson Award by Adam Hetrick (2012) at Playbill.com

William Greaves Receives 2012 Paul Robeson Award in Equity News 97.8 (October/November 2012): 5.

‘Uncontrolled’ Situations: Direct Cinema by Jeffrey Geiger. In American Documentary Film: Projecting the Nation (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2011): 154-185.

Greaves, William by Steven Otfinoski. In African Americans in the Visual Arts (New York: Facts on File, 2011): 88-90.

An Obama Nation? One Filmmaker’s Journey Since the Historic Election by Thomas Allen Harris (2009) at Documentary.org
Or to read online, click here.

Career Achievement Award: An Independent for All Seasons: William Greaves by St. Clair Bourne (2005) at Documentary.org
Or to read online, click here.

William Greaves, Documentary Film-making, and the African-American Experience by Adam Knee and Charles Musser (1992) in Film Quarterly

The Whirlwind World of William Greaves by Rohama Lee (1985) in American Cinematographer 66.8 (1985): 68-72.

Portraits de cinéastes: la carrière exemplaire de William Greaves by Marcel Martin. In Image et Son 363 (July-August 1981): 89-91.

Homage to William Greaves by Pearl Bowser in Independent Black American Cinema, ed. Pearl Bowser and Valerie Harris (New York: Theater Program of Third World Newsreel, 1981), 2. (Not currently available.)

Profile: William Greaves by Lillian Jimenez (1980) in The Independent 3.10 (October 1980): 8-11

William Greaves: Documentaries Are Not Dead by James P. Murray. Black Creation 4.1 (Fall 1972): 10-11.

New Bill Greaves Film in the Milwaukee Star-Times (July 13, 1972): 6.

Film Makers Tell How They Broke Racial Barrier in Topeka Post-Review (November 24, 1970): 5.

It Ain’t Easy. Black Film Directors Face Near Impossible Task in The Greater Milwaukee Star (August 29, 1970): 6.

texts BY GREAVES + interviews with him

The Political Documentary in America Today [Comments by Michael Renov, David Walsh, Paula Rabinowitz, Thom Andersen, Philippe Diaz, Debra Zimmerman, Karen Cooper, William Greaves, Clinton McClung and Jon Miller],” Cineaste 30. 3 (Summer 2005): 29-36. Note: Comments by Greaves are on pp 34-35.

William Greaves –interview with Greaves by George Alexander. In Why We Make Movies: Black Filmmakers Talk About the Magic of Cinema (New York: Harlem Moon, 2003): 28-45.

Ralph Bunche Reconsidered: An Interview with William Greaves by Freda Warren (2001) in Cineaste

Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey: The Making of the Movie–An Interview with filmmaker William Greaves by David Sterrit (ca. 2001)

William Greaves –interview with Greaves by Scott MacDonald in A Critical Cinema 3: Interviews with Independent Filmmakers. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998): 41-63.

William Greaves: Filmmakerinterview with Greaves by James Hatch in Artist and Influence 9 (1990): 54-81.

William Greaves: Les Etats-Unis, c’était presque l’Afrique du Sud. Les choses ont beaucoupé changé by Janine Euvrard and William Greaves (in French.) In Mark Reid et al., eds., Le Cinéma noir américain, (Paris: CinemAction/Cerf, 1988), 151–154.

Portraits de cinéastes: la carrière exemplaire de William Greaves –interview with Greaves (in French) by Marcel Martin. In Image et Son 363 (July-August 1981): 89-91.

Profile: William Greaves –interview with Greaves by Lillian Jimenez (1980) in The Independent 3.10 (October 1980): 8-11

William Greaves: Documentaries Are Not Dead –interview with Greaves by James P. Murray. Black Creation 4.1 (Fall 1972): 10-11.

100 Madison Avenues Will Be of No Help by William Greaves in New York Times (August 9, 1970): 13, 81.