• International Competition

Field niggas

Khalik Allah

Exterior at night, at the corner of 125th and Lexington Avenue in Harlem. Khalik Allah, a photographer in the tradition of Bruce Davidson, films those he meets, their spat-out or chanted stories, their invectives and gestures, and captures the bodies and faces. Most are black. The image he gets bears no resemblance to those usually painted by the media (which are at best indifferent and often scary) of this nocturnal world that includes the homeless, junkies and the poorest of the poor. By employing saturated colours, slow motion and deep contrast, Khalik Allah gives his characters a fascinating beauty. From one figure to the next a collective epic portrait emerges in which voices and disjointed bodies construct polyphonic spaces of shared destiny. These “Field Niggas” therefore appear as a contemporary echo of the “field negroes” evoked by Malcolm X, those slaves who refused any allegiance or proximity to their masters, in opposition to the minority of house Negroes. Is this reading still current? This is the issue as well as the programme of the film, while recent murders of blacks by white police officers – who justify them with fear – are a reminder that the United States has not seen the end of racism. The video of the death of Eric Garner, a foreign body whose ugliness amid the nocturnal, almost mannerist world constructed by Khalik Allah, thus finds its meaning in a film that proclaims above all the fragility of those to whom he gives voice. (NF)

  • International Competition

Technical sheet


USA, 2014, Colour, HD, Stereo, 60’

Original version : english
Script : The Streets
Photography, editing, sound : Khalik Allah
Casting : Khalik Allah

Production : Khalik Allah