Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971)

"This film is dedicated to all the Brothers and Sisters who have had enough of the Man".

Melvin Van Peebles' Sweetback, is on the run.  When he witnesses the brutal beating of a black revolutionary by (do I even need to say) WHITE cops, Sweetback administers a little street justice.  Since the beating of (do I still need to say) WHITE cops is not something that the Man takes lightly, Sweetback is forced to take it on the lam, heading for Mexico.  The way is not easy and he is forced to deal with hardship (police as incompetant as they are racist and biker gangs looking for good times)as he makes a dash for the border. 

With today's culture, where The Man may be a little harder to identify (I guess that depends greatly on who you are and where you live since I am sure there are those today with whom the movie still resonates), I was a little disturbed by the open portrayal of stereotypes that I have spent years rejecting. 

This was an interesting look at what could have been the Godfather of Blaxploitation films. Though often seeming stiff and roughly cut, it seems that the feeling had been edited for a deliberate artistic feel.  The use of montages and spliced repetitive dialogue, while noticable is almost subliminal in it's affects.
"Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song" is a certainly worthy of it's place in The Book, although I might argue that being there, it over-shadows the other genre films of the time.  "Shaft" and "Superfly" making them easily removable. 

3 comments:

  1. I've only seen spoofs of this particular genre, including, I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, and more recently Black Dynamite, movies that poke fun at, yet were clearly influenced by these empowering films.

    I'm looking forward to seeing Shaft and Sweet Sweetback especially, although admitedly a little less enthusiastic about Superfly.

    I recommend I'm Gonna Git You Sucka if you're interested on seeing a reverent send up of this material.

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  2. "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka" is another one of those movies that my brother Steven introduced me to. So funny, I've watched it a dozen times.Every time I watch it, I see a something different.

    An interesting movie you may want to check out,if you haven't already is, Robert Townsend's "Hollywood Shuffle". Although not really blaxploitation, it does address the Hollywood stereotyping.

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