Native Son

Drama, Classics Rated: NR 108 min
Streaming Online: Starting Fri, Oct 2

“Pierre Chenal — born Pierre Cohen in Brussels in 1904 — was a French filmmaker who completed some distinguished dark films in the 1930s before he fled from Paris to Argentina during the Nazi Occupation. Chenal’s directorial career continued in Argentina, and in 1952 he shot a tough version of Native Son, Richard Wright’s bitter 1940 novel about race in America — with Richard Wright himself starring as protagonist Bigger Thomas.The English-language film was cut by 17 minutes when released in the US so as not to offend white sensibility (it did anyway), and has only been recently restored by the Library of Congress to its original length. For the first time, American audiences can experience the intensity of this Uruguayan/Argentinian/French/American production, shot in Buenos Aires and set in Chicago, directed by a Belgian Jew and starring and written by an emigre American.”

—Laurence Kardish, co-artistic director, FilmColumbia

“Genuine noir… an essential and previously missing link in mid-20th-century cinema.” — Edgardo C. Krebs, Film Comment
directed by
Pierre Chenal
written by
Richard Wright
Richard Wright, Jean Wallace, Nicholas Joy