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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

The Meeting (review)

What if Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X had secretly met at the height of the civil rights movement? Could they have bridged the distance between their very divergent approaches to the fight for public equality? Such an imaginary intrigue is at the heart of this 1991 entry from PBS’s American Playhouse. Emmy and Image award-winning, this near two-man play features powerful performances by Jason Bernard, as King, and Dick Anthony Williams, as X, and postulates a clandestine meeting in February 1965, mere weeks before X’s assassination. Students of the period will appreciate the dynamic dramatization of the differences in the two men’s philosophies and the common ground to be found between nonviolent resistance and violent revolution. And everyone who values intellectual debate will take to heart the spirit of generosity the two men discover in each other.

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MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

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