Picks and Pans Review: The Black List: Vol. 1

updated 09/01/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/01/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

HBO, Aug. 25, 9 p.m. ET

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Director and photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders has given this documentary about accomplished black Americans a quiet, handsome stateliness worthy of a museum installation. Which, in a sense, it is: a related photo exhibit just opened at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. The 23 subjects, who include Chris Rock, Serena Williams and Colin Powell, speak straight to the camera (the interviews were conducted by Elvis Mitchell). Nobel laureate Toni Morrison is especially impressive: Recalling her upbringing and her writing, she has a soft gravitas.

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