GREEN CINE Already a member? login
 Your cart
Help
Advanced Search
- Genres
+ Action
+ Adult
+ Adventure
+ Animation
+ Anime
+ Classics
+ Comedies
+ Comic Books
+ Crime
  Criterion Collection
+ Cult
+ Documentary
+ Drama
+ Erotica
+ Espionage
  Experimental/Avant-Garde
+ Fantasy
+ Film Noir
+ Foreign
+ Gay & Lesbian
  HD (High Def)
+ Horror
+ Independent
+ Kids
+ Martial Arts
+ Music
+ Musicals
  Pre-Code
+ Quest
+ Science Fiction
  Serials
+ Silent
+ Sports
+ Suspense/Thriller
  Sword & Sandal
+ Television
+ War
+ Westerns


Public Discussions

topics
GreenCine General
GreenCine Article Discussion
A place for you to post comments on our articles.
74

Black Cinema Primer
Topic by: hamano
Posted: February 23, 2004 - 3:11 PM PST
Last Reply: July 4, 2007 - 6:43 AM PDT

author topic: Black Cinema Primer
hamano
post #1  on February 23, 2004 - 3:11 PM PST  
A forum to discuss the Black Cinema Primer, and Black Cinema in general.
dwhudson
post #2  on February 25, 2004 - 5:48 AM PST  
Thanks, hamano! I meant to get around to this, but the hours and days keep on rushing by.
IWhitney
post #3  on February 25, 2004 - 9:50 AM PST  
I'm a long Lee time fan, going out of my way to watch Do The Right Thing (and then forcing it on my friends and family) in high school. I made a point of seeing his movies in the theater during college and booked a retrospective of his films while head of the film club.

After Malcolm X, though, Lee and I drifted apart. I still wanted to see the movies, but I didn't make time to go to the theater. Until my last year, the only post-Malcolm film I'd seen was Summer Of Sam.

Starting in 2002, I watched and reviewed all of Lee's films in chronological order and I found myself increasingly frustrated and disappointed with his work. There's more than power and anger in Do The Right Thing, there's also a deftly written script that manages to balance a dozen characters and at least 4 plot lines. Lee dips into his remarkable ability to stage scenes of pure symbolism a bit (Smiley with the picture at the end), but he's more restrained and story focused.

He's lost a lot of that restraint and now revels in his symbolic abilities, I think. Sure his movies have moments of great beauty (how wonderful were those Copeland-backed basketball scenes in He Got Game, and the gallery of faces at the end of 25th Hour) but they are more hollow than his story-centered films.

The exception to this is Summer Of Sam. While it's still willing to pump out the pictorial jams, I think it's the best story that Lee's used since DtRT (SoS was not written by Lee, by the way). It's a great exploration of the levels of personality and the societal controls that keep us in our place.

So many people loved 25th Hour that, maybe, I was expecting too much. But even after repeated viewings I couldn't find the elegiac core that so many raved about. I went hunting for positive reviews to see if they could help me unlock the film. Charles Taylor's piece for Salon.com praised every part of the movie that I ended up disparaging in my review. It is a movie, I felt, that required a shared memory that I did not have - being a New Yorker on 9/11. There's no doubt in my mind that there's a deep emotional core to 25th Hour but Lee kept pushing me away with visual tricks and excessive symbolism.

Regardless, I'm glad we've got Lee and I'm even happier that a lot of the people he's brought up through his projects (like Ernest Dickerson) have developed careers of their own. It's a good primer, DW, and I'm looking forward to watching the movies you mentioned.
IWhitney
post #4  on February 26, 2004 - 12:16 PM PST  
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/26/movies/26NOTE.html

An article in today's NYT about the gap between black films and black studio power. It deflates some of the studio myths about black films, which is interesting, and talks about how some of these films, like Barbershop, do overseas. Good readin'.
LGibson1
post #5  on July 2, 2007 - 6:27 AM PDT  
I'm disappointed that so many films are NOT available through Green Cine. The Black Cinema Primer is very good. It lists lots of early black films, none of which are available through Green Cine. What's the point of talking about them without bothering to get them? The same is true for lots of other art films. I'm wondering whether to go to another film company for my rentals.
artifex
post #6  on July 2, 2007 - 10:44 PM PDT  
> On July 2, 2007 - 6:27 AM PDT LGibson1 wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I'm disappointed that so many films are NOT available through Green Cine. The Black Cinema Primer is very good. It lists lots of early black films, none of which are available through Green Cine. What's the point of talking about them without bothering to get them? The same is true for lots of other art films. I'm wondering whether to go to another film company for my rentals.

Which company are you looking at, that has those early films that GC doesn't?

dwhudson
post #7  on July 4, 2007 - 6:43 AM PDT  
Hi, LGibson1. In general, we try to have as full and wide-ranging a catalogue as possible and, especially if we mention a title in a primer or article, we'll get it if it's available. If it's not available on DVD, though, I don't think that should mean we don't mention a landmark film. One of the points of the primers is to provide a brief overview of the historical context of the titles that we do have and can recommend.

about greencine · donations · refer a friend · support · help · genres
contact us · press room · privacy policy · terms · sitemap · affiliates · advertise

Copyright © 2005 GreenCine LLC. All rights reserved.
© 2006 All Media Guide, LLC. Portions of content provided by All Movie Guide®, a trademark of All Media Guide, LLC.