Director: Jamila Wignot
2021 | USA | 82m
GENRE: AIDS/HIV | Biography/History | Black/African American | Dance | Gay | Theatre/Performance Art
SECTION: Documentary Features | Drive-Ins | Spotlight

In this special screening to mark Juneteenth, the life and work of genius choreographer Alvin Ailey take center stage. Charting his trajectory from dance student to globally lauded creative force to his untimely death from AIDS in 1989, this expansive documentary weaves in candid testimonials from the artist’s closest collaborators with breathtaking dance footage from his most revelatory work.

Growing up in rural Texas at a time when the classical ballet world seemed closed to Black artists, Ailey’s achievements seem all the more groundbreaking today, and just as relevant. Ailey—which premiered at Sundance earlier this year—showcases the continuing impact of his dance vision on contemporary artists through the brilliant work of today’s Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Equal parts a celebration of dance, a study on the power of Black creation, and a sobering look at the limitations of the closet, Ailey is the most exciting kind of biography: one that sees the world within and beyond its subject.


Buying Note: This film will screen exclusively in-person on Sat, Jun 19 at FORT MASON FLIX Drive-In. It will not be available digitally to stream. Price is per car, not per person.

Bank of the West

Oberlin Dance Company, Bayview Opera House, San Francisco Ballet