in about 100 words or less
US 125m, B&W
Director: Shirley Clarke; Cast: Hampton Clanton, Yolanda Rodríguez, Antonio Fargas, Carl Lee, Clarence Williams III
The Cool World is an adaptation of Warren Miller’s 1959 novel of the same name about life in Harlem and the racism and prejudices facing its inhabitants. Set to a soundtrack recorded by Dizzy Gillespie and his band, this a colourful portrayal of a teenager named Duke who looks to buy a gun to become president of a gang called the Pythons. A stark coming of age story, The Cool World is less entertainment than historical document of African-American life in the late 1950s (Klaus Ming April 2016).