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A Time for Burning
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Special message from Bill Jersey, producer and director of A Time for Burning:
“With our new (and beautiful) Black presidential family we are tempted to say - the Battle for Black Civil rights has been won. I believe with our President "Old hatreds cannot last" BUT-- as we explored in A Time for Burning-(1965) nothing is as simple as it may seem. In this (my) film about Black /white relations one Church member reminds us (to prove there is no racism in his school) that--"I had a negro in my locker room”. "Burning" has no fire hoses -no teeth baring dogs- and no policeman with truncheons --just one angry Black barber and nice-really nice -white folks saying "we want them to have everything we have- we just can't sit next to them" (in church ). Ultimately- the Churches white minister is forced to resign. When I showed the film at NYU last fall- once again as it has for 43 years the film provoked the response that earned it an Oscar nomination and installation in the permanent Archive of the library of congress: "great story- still relevant”. In my view Burning retains its power because it prompts reflection - and reminds us -- that racism is not the province of mad men or extremists alone- it exists in all of us AND- to see it- is the first step in liberation from it. The time for change IS now- and BUT we, Obama reminds us, must work together to make it real!! So-Thank you Docurama for making Burning available and thanks to you who will extend its reach."
Top Customer Reviews
The pastor of the church makes the first move in listening to the voices of Blacks in Omaha who bluntly tell him the truth of what is going on. Moved by their words he challenges the church's social committee to initiate a ministry that can bring understanding and reconciliation among the groups.
In watching this film you will witness the process of how a white church attempts to come to face the weakness of their faith, sense of justice and fears of reaching out. Every small step that they take is done with caution but they try. We see a church for the first time being confronted with the reality of what it means to be a Christian.
As a sociological study of race relations and the white church this is an excellent film. You see the theological, social and cultural differences as to how two groups view Christianity. The African-Americans do not spare their white Christian counterparts in condemning them for not living up to the Christian gospel. Augustan Lutheran Church is a good example of how a church can change and become relevant to the issues of its time if it will step out on faith. You will be hopeful at the outcome of this film as two groups struggle for reconciliation.
Youngdahl is a wonder to witness as he never loses his cool during his uphill battle with his congregation. His calm demeanor is matched in word and wisdom by 30-year-old black neighborhood barber, Ernie Chambers, who gives Youngdahl the foreboding warning, "If you try to do something, you'll get kicked out of your church" in the first six minutes of the film. In the following scenes, several white men ask Youngdahl why the church must "be so revolutionary" with such a controversial issue, that it's taking "a gamble," that this potential ministry could split the church wide open and could destroy "What we've built up here." It leaves the viewer wondering, exactly what has the church built up here in terms of radical, Christ-like hospitality? The question of ethics and deferring responsibility rises every other minute throughout the film.
The hidden main protagonist is layperson Ray Christiansen, whose heart is caught in a tug-of-war, sometimes hesitant and sometimes embracing of Youngdahl's idea.Read more ›
This is a good documentary and though I don't agree with his opinions all the time, he does make a lot of valid points. His opinions have not changed thoughout the years but time has not healed all wounds in Omaha. Omaha leadership has not done enough to help North Omaha. Just for the record, I'm white living in South Omaha.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The video documentary tells a very truthful and compelling story from the viewpoint of a young black male who became the longest serving senator in the state.Published 19 days ago by Vee
An artifact from the 60's, this film follows a progressive minister of a Lutheran church in Omaha as he attempts to bring his white congregation to exchange meetings with a Black... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Bruce Atkins
An amazing movie, an intimate inside view of a congregation's struggle that is still timely.Published 14 months ago by MMM
Wow! This was a very enlightening documentary that showed that racism exists in the heartland just as much as in the South. Read morePublished on December 16, 2013 by Michael
I purchased this to get a better understanding of what my grandparents went through in the 1960's in Omaha, Nebraska. I was pleased at the quality of the product that I received. Read morePublished on March 26, 2013 by marypayne
This documentary paints an unflattering picture of my home town, Omaha, Nebraska in the mid 1960's. Read morePublished on May 29, 2011 by J. Nixon
I will nearly always hands down endorse anything Mr. Chambers preaches. I have seen him in action and I know he preaches the gospel. The gospel of humanity. Read morePublished on March 19, 2010 by Yasmin H. McEwen