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.
Bushman has been restored by the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive and The Film Foundation. Funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation. Additional support provided by Peter Conheim, Cinema Preservation Alliance. A Milestone Films & Video and Kino Lorber Release.
- Give Me a Riddle (a documentary by David Schickele, 1966, 67 minutes)
- Tuscarora (a documentary by David Schickele, 1992, 58 minutes)
- Audio commentary by film historian Daniel Kremer and filmmaker Rob Nilsson
- Audio commentary of an archival interview
- David Schickele - Director
- Paul Eyam Nzie Okpokam - Actor
- Mike Slye - Actor
- Elaine Featherstone - Actor
“Critic’s Pick! A film of and ahead of its time”
“Dazzling…Bursting with passion, sly humor, satirical swipes and the inescapable heartbeat of insurgency”
“Formally audacious… extraordinary! An elegant, protean portrait of its main character… Bushman is also an astute examination of place, immigration, racism, blinkered liberals, and the inevitability of outrageous state-sanctioned violence in that convulsive epoch.”
“The most revelatory discovery of 2024 so far… both a time capsule and a timeless exploration of the immigrant experience”
An example of cinema’s ability to encode little packages of explosive revelation into its fabric… just waiting for the next viewer to trigger another real-time detonation."
"A remarkable testament.”
"Perceptive and compassionate. This is quite a movie.”
"Both a remarkably sensitive study of a man caught between cultures and a tough examination of the subculture in which he lived."