In this groundbreaking documentary from the Independent Film Channel, filmmaker Isaac Julien takes us back to the early 70s and the explosion of blaxploitation films, today one of American cinema's most beloved cult genres. Featuring a wealth of footage from such classic films as Superfly and Shaft, and interviews with such key players as Richard Roundtree, Quentin Tarantino, and Pam Grier, BaadAsssss Cinema gets to the bottom of exactly what helped the blaxploitation genre achieve its revered cult status.
DVD Features: Extended interviews with Pam Grier, Quentin Tarantino and others; Letterbox Format; Interactive Menus; Scene Selection
What a great treat to find so many beloved icons in Isaac Julien's excellent documentary about blaxploitation cinema: actors Pam Grier, Fred Williamson, and Gloria Hendry, among others, as well as directors Gordon Parks and Melvin Van Peebles. Through their piercing perspectives, plus commentary by the likes of film critic Elvis Mitchell and (of course) cult aficionado and filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, Baadasssss Cinema makes a persuasive argument that 1970s blaxploitation was both an American achievement and a temporary fix for Hollywood's then-economic doldrums. Julien gracefully leads viewers on a tour of blaxploitation's aesthetic and social roots, including a desire by African American audiences to see black protagonists stand up to power. Baadasssss Cinema also explains the appeal of warhorse movie genres--gangster films, horror--to the blaxploitation industry, discusses African American ambivalence in the '70s toward the films' new racial stereotypes, and makes sense of blaxploitation's commercial burnout once Hollywood got hold of the formula. --Tom Keogh