Sam Adams
February 28, 2005 AT 05:00 AM EST

Proclaiming herself ”the candidate of the people of America,” Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, congresswoman Shirley Chisholm became the first African American, and the first woman, to mount a full-fledged campaign for the presidency. Neither ”the people” nor her congressional colleagues were particularly supportive: One shot shows Chisholm at the edge of the otherwise all-male Congressional Black Caucus, while in another, fellow congresswoman Bella Abzug plants her index finger squarely in Chisholm’s sternum For Democrats, the spectacle of candidates clambering over one another while a wartime president wins reelection may be painfully familiar, but Shola Lynch’s chipper documentary is an unadulterated valentine to her late subject, decorated with colorful graphics and a funky score. Chisholm’s trailblazing determination is inspiring — ”If you can’t endorse me, get out of my way,” she says with a steely lisp — but Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed is ultimately vague about what she actually stood for. The film proves that anyone can run, but it doesn’t address the thornier issue of whether it’s worth jeopardizing real victories to win symbolic ones. EXTRAS None.

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