I Heard It through the Grapevine


Two decades after the Civil Rights Movement, James Baldwin revisits historical places stretching from the South to the North – from Selma and Birmingham, Alabama to Atlanta, Georgia and on to the battleground beaches of St. Augustine, Florida and the Dr Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, D. C. On this journey down memory lane, he engages in conversations with friends, activists and fellow writers such as Amiri Baraka, Oretha Castle Haley and Chinua Achebe, reflecting on the past events that sparked the fight against racial segregation, the attacks on churches, racist police brutality and the arbitrary injustices which the Black population had to endure. Questioning their own legacy, these luminaries look at the present and how little has actually been achieved in the wake of the movement, and we, the audience are equally encouraged to reflect on our own era. Dick Fontaine skilfully weaves archival materials into the accounts, making his film at once a poignant historical document and highly relevant today in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement.


  • Runtime

    91 min
  • Country

    United States
  • Year of Presentation

  • Year of Production

  • Director

    Dick Fontaine
  • Cast

    James Baldwin, David Baldwin, Amiri Baraka, Chinua Achebe
  • Production Company

  • Berlinale Section

  • Berlinale Category

    Documentary Film