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Zora Neale Hurston Movies & TV

Their Eyes Were Watching God (2005)

Oprah Winfrey produced this much-hyped TV movie of Hurston's famous novel. Halle Berry stars as protagonist Janie Crawford. The movie lacks the nuance and passion of Hurston's novel, but Janie and Tea Cake are so incredibly pretty that it's hard not to get sucked in.

The Gilded Six Bits (2001)

Filmmaker Booker T. Mattison wrote and directed this adaptation of Hurston's short story when he was still a student. "The Gilded Six Bits" is about a husband and wife whose lives are upended by the arrival of a slick hustler. It's short—barely 30 minutes—but a fascinating interpretation of one of Hurston's best stories.

Zora Neale Hurston: Jump at the Sun (2008)

PBS' American Masters documentary series takes on Zora Neale Hurston. The filmmakers explore the rise and fall of Hurston's fortunes. Hurston's life story—an accomplished writer who died penniless, only to have her career resurrected years later by another rising artist—makes for compelling viewing.

I'll Make Me a World (1999)

Zora Neale Hurston appears as herself in this acclaimed documentary of black American artists in the twentieth century. The movie features interviews and archival footage of artists from Hurston and Dizzy Gillespie to Spike Lee and Wynton Marsalis.

Hughes Dream Harlem (2002)

Hurston and the poet Langston Hughes were among the key figures of the Harlem Renaissance. Hurston always regretted the end of their friendship, which came about after a dispute over a play they were both working on. This made-for-TV documentary examines Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance, with tours of his favorite hangouts in Harlem and interviews with people who knew the poet.

Brother to Brother (2004)

This film imagines the artistic community in 1920s Harlem. A young art student befriends an elderly homeless man named Bruce, who narrates to him the story of his life growing up as a young black gay writer during the Harlem Renaissance. Bruce recounts his friendships with historical figures like Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes.

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