The Last Angel Of History

TX: Channel 4


Single channel colour video, sound

45 minutes 7 seconds

Director: John Akomfrah

Producer: Lina Gopaul

The Last Angel of History is a sci-fi documentary about Africa, history and memory.

Legend has it that in the 1930s itinerant blues man Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in order to play the blues. What Johnson got in return for his soul was a black secret: technology which would produce the history of black music.

200 years into the future another itinerant figure, the Data Thief, sells his soul for the knowledge of his future. He has been told to go to the past (our present) and unearth black culture’s speculations about the future. Piece together these speculations and you will find the secret of the black secret technology which will unlock your future….

The Last Angel Of History takes us on a voyage, from the margins of black culture to its interstellar heart. The film charts a new interface, striking up connections and dialogues between diverse black interstellar parties who have so much in common, and yet for the most part remain unaware of each other’s existence from Sunra to Nichelle Nichols, George Clinton to Lee Perry, A Guy Called Gerald, Goldie and Underground Resistance.

Black Audio Film Collective’s exploration of the chromatic possibilities of digital video is embedded within a mythology of the future that creates connections between black unpopular culture, outer space and the limits of the human condition.

Awards and Nominations

  • Paul Robeson Award, Ouagadougou Panafrican Film and Television Festival, Burkina Faso, 1997
  • Best Film, Transmedia Film Festival, Germany, Berlin, 1996