...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

"A Black Ave Maria for you"

Just watched Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song. This kinetic firecracker with a core of powerful sexuality, starring (and I quote) The Black Community, is a piece of almost pure cinema. Shot on the very very very cheap, there's little sync sound which lets the camera go anywhere and everywhere. So the movie never stops moving, like Sweetback himself.

You see, Sweetback's on the run from Whitey after he smacks two cops around with his handcuffs. Melvin Van Peebles (as Sweetback, the director, producer, editor, writer, caterer, grip, and Lord) fashions an indie Odyssey as our hero makes his run from central L.A. to Mexico. The best Greek Chorus in cinema urges him on with "Run Mother----er Run!" Okay, henceforth and evermore it shall be referred to as the Sweetback Chorus instead.

There's a sequence of note that ends in a cop car bursting into flames. I know we've all seen this happen hundreds of times in movies and TV shows, but never is it as therapeutic as it is here. It meant a lot to me and I'm a 2008 Caucasian.

One doesn't need to be Huey Newton to appreciate S.S.B.S.'s strengths -- and there can be (and has been) much discussion about emancipation via a good shtup -- but as a piece of filmmaking it's crisp and alive so I recommend this one to anyone with an open mind or has "had enough of the Man".

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