Thursday, 10 September 2009

Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song

Yes, that's the real name of the film. It's stars Melvin Van Peebles as Sweetback, a man on the run from the white man. People say that this was the origin of the blaxpoitation genre. Surprisingly, it's pretty avante-garde and weird, especially the use of montage, story, editing and some of the cinematography. In that sense it's very different to later blaxploitation films which were very sort of Hollywood in their look and feel. It's doesn't surprise me that some people don't consider it a blaxploitation film at all.

It shows it time though, in a way it's sort of funny because what was edgy and daring in 1971 in regards to the portrayal of black culture is now a bit of parody. For example in the films own words it stars 'The Black Community' (this is what appears in the title credits) and it's dedicated "to all the Brothers and Sisters who had enough of the Man". It also ends with the sentence "A baad asssss nigger is coming back to collect some dues..." displayed on the screen.

I think the production of it is quite admirable, Melvin Van Peebles did EVERYTHING. He wrote the film, directed the film, produced the film, edited the film, used his own money the fund it, acted in the film, did all the stunts in the film and he even contracted gonorrhea during one of the many unsimulated sex scenes he took part in. Considering i'm in a situation where I have complete control over every facet of production, I think a lot can learned from this film and others like Russ Meyer's Faster Pussycat Kill Kill.