In 1968, Peace Corps veteran David Schickele enlisted his friend Paul Eyam Nzie Okpokam to star in a light-hearted comedy about the adventures of a young Nigerian intellectual in San Francisco. Using a docu-fictional style reminiscent of Cassavetes’ Shadows, the film observes the foibles of late 1960s African-American culture with an outsider’s incisive eye. The result is a vibrant snapshot of the nation’s racial politics, from interracial romance to cross-cultural misunderstandings and countercultural joy. The film morphs into a documentary when the director’s voice abruptly intrudes to narrate its star’s enraging fate: Okpokam was accused of a crime he did not commit and was thrown in prison before being expelled from the country.
Described as a critical piece of Black representation in American cinema, Bushman has been restored in 4K and is now available for the first time in almost 30 years!