woensdag 11 mei 2011

Baadasssss Cinema (2002)

Baaaaaadaaaassssssssss it is. I've said it before and I'll say it again; the seventies and eighties are the most interesting decades, especialy when you take a look at the exploitation movies. Also, let's not forget the tons of horror classics that still influence the modern day movies. This documentary focuses on the blaxploitation. And when Pam Grier, Fred Williamson and Quentin Tarantino show up to talk about it, you know it means business.

I enjoyed it. But why? First off I have to say that only recently I became somewhat interested in this 'subgenre'. So for me personally it feels as if at this point it's the most interesting to see where it all started and get some of the know-how into my system. Answers to questions such as; why did it even excist and most importantly: what are the must sees? If you're just as curious about this stuff as I am, you should definetly check it out sometime. Now, let's see if I get as enthousiastic as Tarantino can!
Tarantino is a fine adition to (almost) every documentary surrounding this particular era. Even though his wild gestures tend to distract (or entertain indirectly) a lot, it still is a man who knows what he is talking about. Pam Grier is the most appealing one of the bunch, while Mario van Peebles is the least. I guess he makes up for it by sucking his sigar every 2.5 seconds, he will even interupt his own sentences if he feels the urge to suck on his brown stick. That's just badass, right?

There are definetly a few remarkable quotes to be found here. For example, they weren't to certain why the 'black cinema' would later be known as the 'blaxploitation'. ''Why is it exploitation? The filmmakers aren't exploiting anyone, neither are they being exploited themselves''. I don't think the term exploitation has anything to do with the crew or audience (directly). To me it means that the content of the movie is exploiting itself on aspects such as sex and/or violence. In that case the term would definetly fit the black bill. 
They exploit famous movies (dracula, godfather, they all went black, and once you go black....ah nevermind), they contain nudity, heavy violence and so on. When did these ingredients find their audience? According to this documentary the black-wave started with movies such as Shaft and Sweet Sweetback's Baad Asssss Song. Sweet Sweetback' was directed by Mario van Peebles (Remember him from earlier on?) which had a pretty funny story to tell. An old lady was watching his movie, as he was sittig right next to her. She then commented on the movie about how she was suprised about the fact that the black guy would survive the entire movie. At first you might think it's funny but on the other hand it's pretty odd that it's such a miracle for a black guy to actualy stay alive in a movie, right?

It's interesting that the black audience were really looking for movies which were made for them specifically. They always kept a political statement in mind but as soon as the movie started they would forget all about those thoughts and it would simply be all about enjoying a really cool movie. Despite all of that, the movies didn't really do much for the crew. Almost all the money went directly to the big companies (dissapeared into Hollywood's greedy and filthy hands). Leaving the director and the rest of the crew with the leftovers. For example: Gordon Parks only made 13.000 dollar on Shaft, how much did Hollywood scrape out of it? Let's just say 'more'... much much more.

It was a special time and it has plenty to be discovered, turning this into a great little peek into their ways and that makes up for an interesting documentary. It has enough content, shared by plenty of interesting people from back in the days. It doesn't really last that long, which might be a little dissapointing. It has enough great footage and music to get you in the right mood. With footage from movies such as Coffy and music from Superfly it seems hard to denie how cool these movies were and actually still are.They're not just badass, they're baadasssss!

Score: 90/100


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