The Documentary Forum at CCNY, Third World Newsreel and Maysles Cinema Present
Made in Harlem: Mr. Untouchable
At City College Shepard Hall (Rooms 290/291)
259 Convent Ave at 140th St.
Marc Levin, 2007, 92 min.
The legendary Leroy “Nicky” Barnes ruled Harlem for the first half of the 1970s, rising from a common drug dealer to the leader of a criminal empire dubbed the Council, trading largely in heroin and cocaine, brokered through close ties with the Mafia. As ironically suggested by his nickname, borrowed for the film’s title, his hubris ultimately led to his fall from power. When evidence was finally collected against Barnes, he turned on his former associates, securing his freedom through the FBI’s Witness Protection Program, and, as revealed in Levin’s film, seems to have made out like a bandit. Interviewed in silhouette, the remorseless Barnes-in-hiding flashes conspicuous symbols of success – a natty suit, expensive jewelry, and even champagne – trying too hard to project the kind of power he hasn’t wielded in decades. Levin’s engaging portrait recaptures 1970s Harlem, managing to dance a fine line between nostalgia and begrudging satisfaction in Barnes’ comeuppance.
Snacks from a local Harlem eatery will precede the film.
Q&A with Joseph 'Jazz' Hayden (former Nicky Barnes associate, Mr. Untouchable subject).
Third World Newsreel is a progressive alternative media center that distributes, produces and trains, focusing on media by and about people of color. It is celebrating its 50th year of progressive media making.
This program is part of Made in Harlem, (March-May 2017), a non-fiction film series for, by and about Harlem, and including Harlem-made films, filmmakers, speakers and subjects. Made in Harlem is sponsored by the West Harlem Development Corporation.