Streaming Release!

Within Our Gates


The Loft Cinema will be splitting the revenue with the film’s distributor 50/50 You can watch Within Our Gates for 5 days after your purchase. The film may be watched on your mobile device, computer, and other streaming devices. Click here for FAQs on streaming the film.

“Bold, forceful, remarkable … Micheaux’s narrative manner is as daring as his subject matter.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker

The silent film classic Within Our Gates is the earliest surviving feature film by an African American director. It was Oscar Micheaux’s second film (after 1919’s The Homesteader, now lost), and involves an idealistic young woman named Sylvia Landry (Evelyn Preer, one of the first great stars of the race film) who attempts to raise money for an elementary school to serve the Black community (a premise that would be echoed in Micheaux’s Birthright [1938]). In the course of navigating the racial politics of both the Black and White communities, Sylvia’s past is revealed in a series of flashbacks that contain the film’s most notorious sequence: the lynching of her parents by a white mob. Micheaux’s staging of the scene is startling in its bluntness and speaks volumes about the director’s fearlessness and willingness to address taboo subject matter. The film touches upon other themes that would recur throughout the controversial filmmaker’s career, such as the promise of rural life vs. the corruptive influence of the city, and the use of religion as a means of misleading the Black community. Bold, uncompromising and utterly unforgettable, Within Our Gates is as powerful a refutation of the racism of Hollywood depictions of African Americans as any film produced in the early years of cinema. This version of Within Our Gates has been mastered in HD from 35mm film elements preserved by The Library of Congress, acquired by the American Film Institute from the Filmoteca Española, Madrid. (Dir. by Oscar Micheaux, 1920, USA, silent with intertitles, 79 mins., Not Rated)