La Jornada – Sidney Poitier paved the way for blacks in film; They will premiere a documentary about the actor

Toronto. Oprah Winfrey talks about her deep affection for actor Sidney Poitier – a longtime friend and mentor of hers – overwhelmed with emotion during an interview about the upcoming documentary sydney, portrait spanning a lifetime. She buried her head in her hands and cried out, “I love him so much!”

Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, Morgan Freeman, George Nelson, Robert Redford and Halle Berry were interviewed on sydney, and his reflections on the popular artist and civil rights activist are often illuminating. The film means something intensely personal to Winfrey, one of the film’s producers.

“Actually, I was trying not to lose control because my love for him is so deep and strong,” Winfrey said in an interview at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it premiered. sydney Saturday. “He was my adviser, my friend, my consolation, my balm, my joy.”

Winfrey’s “Life Changed”

Sidney, premiering on Apple TV+, comes eight months after the death of Poitier, the groundbreaking actor who paved the way for countless black actors in Hollywood and single-handedly revolutionized the way they appeared on screen.

Directed by Reginald Hudlin, the film was made with the cooperation of the actor’s family. Much of it had been completed before he died in January at age 94, including his interview with Winfrey.

She has said that her life changed irrevocably when she saw Poitier become the first black actor to win the Academy Award for best actor for lilies of the valley, 1963, a life in show business suddenly became attainable for her. They later met for the first time when Winfrey’s talk show was taking off. Poitier was one of the few who could understand what she was going through as a black artist.

“During the early days of navigating fame and everything that comes with it, being attacked from all sides by black people and white people, people saying you weren’t this or you should be doing that, he was the one I turned to,” he said. –. He said, ‘It’s always a struggle and a challenge when you carry other people’s dreams.’”

It was the first of many conversations over the years. “Remember Tuesdays with Morrie? I could have done Sundays with Sidney, Winfrey says. “He was my person, he was my boy, my friend and my brother.”

Hudlin, the director of party in the House Y Marshall, estimates that he had completed about 90 percent of the interviews in the film when Poitier died. “It was a disappointment to know that I would never see it, but I was glad at a time when everyone wanted to touch it and connect with it, we would have this movie.”

The interviews with Poitier were done earlier, apart from the film, before the star’s health deteriorated, but the footage of him speaking directly into the camera and hearing that voice narrate his life story provides one last chance to be in his majestic presence. Bahamian-born Poitier talks about how his youthful identity was forged without the influence of racism. It wasn’t until he left for Miami at age 15 that he found it.

“I left the Bahamas with this sense of self,” Poitier says in the film, “and from the moment I stepped off the ship, America started telling me, ‘You’re not who you think you are.'”