By :
Michel NOLL
United States, 2008
52 min
Like Martin Luther King and Gandhi, Malcom X remains in the Pantheon of those who have changed the world.
It is in Ohama, Nebraska, that Malcolm Little is born in 1925 as the son of a Baptist minister and a mother confined to a psychiatric hospital. He grows up in an orphanage, and, as a teenager, later as a young men, he very early comes into conflict with the law.

In prison, he assigns himself an ambitious general education program and succeeds in catching up with the lost years. He also learns about, and is very impressed with the theses of the self-proclaimed prophet of the Islam, Elijah Muhammed, leader of the “Nation of the Islam”, a then small religious group. When he quits prison, he integrates this movement, and, due to his exceptional talents as a public speaker, quickly becomes the n° 2 of this sect. Whilst in the public arena, the “Nation of Islam” will undoubtedly be his best supporter, but it will also become his worst enemy when later on, he distances himself from the doubtful methods of the “prophet”. In his short public career, Malcolm has given his pride to the black man. As a matter of fact, very early, he assumed the name Malcolm X since, at times of slavery, no one knew the original names of African slaves. The “X” should provide a sense of mystery and threat…It was a political gesture in order to reject this past and ( re-connect black Americans to their African roots) .

Today, more than 40 years after his death, for some his name still stands for violent black activism: his anti-white acid and incendiary speeches are still quoted by advocates of violence. But for many others, his name has become the symbol for peaceful means to resolve racial issues, in particular in periods of hostility between Christians and Moslems. For those, he represents the fraternity of all people regardless of their race, religion or belief. Therefore, like Martin Luther King and Gandhi, he will remain in the Pantheon of those who have changed the world. And like them, he will be assassinated.

On the 21st of February 1965, whilst he delivers a speech in New York to mark the opening of the “National Week of Fraternity”, he is shot in the presence of his wife and his children. Malcolm X had only just turned 39. We know that the assassins were defenders of the “Nation of the Islam”, but who the commissioners were, has never been established. This 52 minutes documentary looks at the serious leads explaining his assassination, while presenting the dramatic arc of his life, and the impact of the contradictions of this outstanding personnality.