Hallelujahs at the Gantt

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The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture continues its Oscar, Spencer and Paul film series — which highlights works of black film pioneers Oscar Micheaux, Spencer Williams and Paul Robeson — with a religious nudge. The 1944 film Go Down Death is the third in Spencer Williams' God-fearing trilogy. The narrative finds a shady juke joint owner (Williams) plotting to frame an innocent preacher (Samuel H. James) with a scandalous photograph.

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Why? Because his rowdy barrelhouse is nearly empty and the church around the corner is packed. Looks like residents are abandoning their moonshine for hallelujahs. Subtitled "The Story of Jesus and the Devil," Go Down Death spawned controversy in its heyday due to its silent clips depicting hell by French filmmaker Georges Melies. Free with museum admission ($5-$8). Sun., Aug. 12, 2 p.m. Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, 551 South Tryon St. 704-547-3700. www.ganttcenter.org.

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