Danny Glover is best known as an actor, in such movies as The Color Purple, The Royal Tenenbaums and the Lethal Weapon series, but he’s also a great humanitarian. And as a result of his social conscience, he’s unsurprisingly been involved with numerous documentaries, onscreen and off. Now he’s the latest celebrity to curate a collection of nonfiction films for SundanceNow Doc Club. He picked six favorites, and four of them are actually features he worked on as an executive producer or co-producer. Which is fine. Love what you do.
“These films inspire us to feel something from the beginning to the end,” Glover says of the chosen films. “They challenge us to go deeper into the constructs of what we feel and what we can do individually and collectively.”
In addition to those that Glover is passionate enough about that he had a hand in them, there’s also a special exclusive in the bunch: Jihan El-Tahri’s Cuba: An African Odyssey has never been released theatrically in the U.S. but is now available to stream only via Doc Club. The other selection he had nothing to do with is, interestingly enough, directed by his fellow Predator franchise actor (and his occasional collaborator), Bill Duke. Find them all listed below with Glover’s comments on why he picked each doc, a link to watch the film and their original trailers.
Concerning Violence (Goran Olsson, 2014)
“1967 was a complex and important year for me. One of the books I read several times in 1967 — you really have to read it many times — was Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth. It had resonated with me in such an emotional and psychological way. Concerning Violence is based off of an essay in that book. Co-producing this film gave me the opportunity to work with the wonderful Swedish director Goran Olsson (The Black Power Mixtape 1967–1975) again. It was a meeting of two worlds for me, a cinematic one with extraordinary footage of the anti-colonialism movement in Africa and the narrative of the book that was so special to me.”
Cuba: An African Odyssey (Jihan El-Tahri, 2007)
“Out of all the films I chose, this is the most central. The story of Cuba’s relationship with Africa is deep in the forgotten pages of history, or at least American history. Cuba played an extraordinary role in the liberation process in Africa and this film is the documentation. It’s not just an ideological film… it’s about the true sacrifices that Cubans made not only in South Africa but in other places as well. Jihan El-Tahri is just a wonderful filmmaker.”
Dark Girls (Bill Duke, 2011)
“I wanted to include something from director Channsen Berry’s amazing library. Dark Girls is one of those stories that provides access to a conversation we’re not privy to. We don’t often get an opportunity to explore this world of dark skinned women. The film provides us with incredible insight into how they experience unique biases.”
The Disappearance of McKinley Nolan (Henry Corra, 2010)
“What an amazing story! This soldier Private McKinley Nolan who was unaccounted for in the Vietnam War was accused of being a traitor, a double agent, with a totally mysterious disappearance guarded by the military. The mystery around his life itself, his former wife, his in-laws — none of them had real clarity about what happened to him. This is a case in which ordinary people’s stories became extraordinary.”
Soundtrack for a Revolution (Bill Guttentag, 2009)
“I was recently at an event to save The Marcus Book Store, the oldest black bookstore in the country. At this event, I was so surprised to find a group of young kids ages 8–10 singing, “Ain’t Nobody Gonna Turn Me Around.” When I first heard that song, I was older than they were. These kids were keeping it alive. It was amazing. The desire to produce Soundtrack for a Revolution came out of this spirit of carrying on the voices of the Civil Rights movement and adding a new rhythm to it with voices like John Legend, The Roots and Mary Mary.”
Trouble the Water (Tia Lessin and Carl Deal, 2008)
“Most times when you see a documentary, it’s the case of a filmmaker putting people on camera. In this case, the filmmakers were inside the project. The story came to them. The hurricane came to them. In the attics of their homes and in the streets. The film offers a poetic glimpse into how people’s lives were transformed.”