Bottom 40% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2004 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Documentary Competition

Non-Cast Credits

Shola Lynch, Ramon Hervey, Phil Bertelsen, Sandi Sissel, Sam Pollard, Becca Bender, Sikay Tang


In 1972, when Shirley Chisholm, a brilliant black congresswoman from Brooklyn boldly bid for the presidency, women had barely made it out of the kitchen, and the Civil Rights Act was still new. But here was eloquent, composed, audacious Shirley ChishoLmó not only the first black woman in Congress, but the first woman to run for the nationís highest officeó demanding that the body politic actually represent all the American people.

With its blaxploitation flare and seventies visual sensibility, Chisholm '72 is a sassy chronicle of this persuasive humanistís campaign trail adventures. She ran, as she put it, not as a black or woman but as a candidate of the people. The press ridiculed or ignored her, and progressive leaders endorsed more "electableî Democratic candidates. Yet despite these setbacks, Chisholm built strong grassroots support, resiliently took her cadre of delegates all the way to the Democratic Convention, and now, at almost 80, lived to tell about it.

Shola Lynch's powerful and inspiring documentary celebrates a remarkable woman, but also raises stinging questionsómore potent in this election yearóabout the social implications of her campaign. If the country wasnít ready for Chisholm 30 years ago, under what conditions would a black or a woman be considered electable today? In other words, has anything changed?


Caroline Libresco (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.