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IN BRIEF

Nonfiction

November 10, 1996|SUSAN SALTER REYNOLDS

REEL TO REAL: race sex and class at the movies by Bell Hooks (Routledge: $16.95, 235 pp.). Hooks, a professor of English at the City University of New York and author of "Outlaw Culture" and "Teaching to Transgress," makes a compelling case to filmmakers for creating progressive images that "transform the culture we live in." She reminds a viewer how political an image is and what an agent for change it can be. "The breaking of boundaries," she writes in an essay on Atom Egoyan's film, "Exotica," "is essential for the process of self-recovery. Everyone must break down in order to break through. The rite of passage is the journey away from denial outward recognition [sic] and reconciliation."

Quentin Tarantino wins her admiration but ultimately her scorn: "Cynicism," she quotes the poet Amiri Baraka in an essay on "Pulp Fiction," "is not revolutionary." She chides Spike Lee ("She's Gotta Have It") and Terry McMillan ("Waiting to Exhale") for perpetuating old stereotypes of black women.

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