A ‘breakthrough’ view of African American life in 1980 drama ‘Personal Problems’


A woman works as an emergency-room nurse and juggles an affair with a musician and her home life, which, in addition to her husband and his elderly father, includes her troubled brother and sister-in-law.

That is the setup for “Personal Problems,” a 1980 experimental domestic drama directed by the late Bill Gunn (“Ganja and Hess”) and written by Bay Area poet and novelist Ishmael Reed, who also has a part in the film as a black Republican. Newly restored, the rarely screened film begins a weeklong run at San Francisco’s Alamo Drafthouse New Mission on Aug. 16. Reed will take part in a Q&A on opening night.

Gunn’s third and final feature was shot on ¾-inch…

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