A few hours after the announcement of the death of the actor and director Sidney Poitier, which took place on January 6, 2022 at the age of 94, we discover that a documentary is in the works on behalf of Apple that will tell about his life and the impact it has had in the world of cinema and in that of African American culture. It will be produced Oprah Winfrey, authentic force of nature in the United States: it is the one who interviewed Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, so to speak. The direction will instead be signed by Reginald Hudlin, which brings above all the experience gained by directing the documentary ‘The Black Godfather’, centered on the figure of the record and film producer Clarence Avant, one who has worked behind the scenes all his life, but who has been behind the scenes of some of the most seminal realities of black culture.
The documentary on Sidney Poitier
The Sidney Poitier biopic had been in the air for about a year, run by Harpo Productions (by Oprah Winfrey) in collaboration with the Poitier family, but, as often happens in these cases, things were progressing very slowly. The death of the great actor and director gave that boost that was missing, so much so that now the main US newspapers and us are talking about this documentary. It will be a Apple Original Film and therefore will be released in streaming on Apple TV +, even if at the moment no publication date has been made official.
For its part, the life of Sidney Poitier is particularly interesting, in view of a documentary film: it was in fact a central figure in the integration of African Americans within the world of Hollywood cinema, bringing trustworthy, decent, proud but not threatening characters to the big screen. Characteristics that have sometimes led to criticism, especially from those filmmakers who preferred a decidedly less accommodating imagery towards whites (see many exponents of the blaxploitation). But also characteristics that have undeniably paved the way for careers like those of Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington and company. The human and professional story of Sidney Poitier is therefore intertwined with the story of the still unresolved Afro-American question, and this makes him a very valid subject for a documentary.
By the way: they are very exciting weeks for Apple, which is announcing a series of very interesting projects. For example, the biopic of Audrey Hepburn starring Rooney Mara (and directed by Luca Guadagnino) and the film on Formula 1 with Brad Pitt (and the advice of Lewis Hamilton).