The film shows a new side of how race was portrayed in early film, and it has moved creators today.

“There’s a performance there because they’re dancing with one another, but their kissing has an unmistakable sense of naturalness, pleasure, and amusement as well,” Allyson Nadia Field, one the historians who helped identify the film, told the University of Chicago. “It is really striking to me, as a historian who works on race and cinema, to think that this kind of artifact could have existed in 1898.”

A Twitter user who identifies himself in his profile as a lawyer in entertainment swiftly scored the 1898 film to the soundtrack of Barry Jenkins’s new movie, If Beale Street Could Talk, a tale of two young black lovers set in the 1970s. The Oscar-winning director was struck by the mashup between the newly discovered century-old picture and his own movie.

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