November 11, 2007 |
For much of his three-decade career, Charles Burnett has been championed as an unheralded master by the relatively few who've seen his films. He works infrequently, and many of his movies have suffered some combination of producer interference and marketing negligence. Before the long-overdue release this year of his debut feature, "Killer of Sheep," this pioneer of socially and politically conscious African American cinema was best known for being somewhat unknown.
October 3, 2011 |
In the late 1960s, the civil rights movement had entered a new phase. It was the era of black power — and universities were actively courting African Americans and other minorities to enroll. It was in this charged atmosphere that the "L.A. Rebellion" was born at UCLA. African American students enrolled at the School of Theater, Film and Television and, over the next 20 years, created a new culture of black films that was far removed from the Hollywood blaxploitation urban crime thrillers of the time, which included such box-office hits as "Coffy" and "Superfly.
September 9, 2004 |
In a documentary composed entirely of movies, Thom Andersen's monumental "Los Angeles Plays Itself" boldly and provocatively explores the long, evolving relationship between the city and its representation on the screen. A film historian, social critic and film critic, Andersen loves his native city, and his documentary, screening tonight as part of the American Cinematheque's Alternative Screen showcase, has a special resonance for L.A. natives and film devotees.
February 6, 1996 |
Before there was video, searching out foreign films beyond the usual European variety in Los Angeles was a real adventure. For Japanese movies, you had to go to the old Toho La Brea or the Shochiku. The Picfair Theatre offered a feast of Indian movie musical epics. After its life as L.A.'s best retrospective house, the Fox Venice was the place to go for Iranian cinema. And you can still catch new goodies from China, Hong Kong and Mexico at several venues from downtown to San Gabriel.
January 5, 1998 |
The news that "Eve's Bayou" was the most commercially successful independently produced film in 1997 should be cause for much rejoicing ("Life Looks Sunny on the 'Bayou,' " Calendar, Dec. 29). It showed that an independent film with an all-black cast, sans the ancient racial stereotypes of crime-dope-guns-freaky sex-cartoon caricatures-human wrecks that too many Hollywood films traditionally reserve almost exclusively for blacks, can do well at the box office.
April 8, 1996 |
Lost in the hubbub over Jesse Jackson's Academy Awards protest was this important point: African Americans don't need Hollywood and the academy to validate their experience and accomplishments. They can validate it themselves by supporting films that honestly depict African Americans, sacrificing, struggling and ultimately triumphing over adversity. The starting point should have been the film "Once Upon a Time. . . . When We Were Colored."
January 30, 1995 |
Though I am a determined fan of Times movie critic Kenneth Turan, I was severely disappointed by his review " 'Higher Learning' at Singleton U" (Calendar, Jan. 11). I had the pleasure of attending the premiere of John Singleton's third feature and I must say right off that I have seldom been prouder to be an African American. Make no mistake about it, Singleton is a formidable talent who has a firm grasp on the craft as well as the art of making movies.
August 12, 2004 |
Ten years in the making, S. Pearl Sharp's "The Healing Passage/Voices of the Water" is the finest accomplishment yet from the noted poet-filmmaker. In this beautiful and challenging documentary, Sharp investigates the many ways in which African Americans can overcome the lingering psychic wounds of their ancestors' long ordeal in slavery. The Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center presents a screening of the movie Saturday at USC.
May 5, 2005 |
It is a remarkable work, quite likely the best documentary on the City of Angels ever made, but it's never had an extended run in Los Angeles -- until now. It's played successfully in festivals worldwide, from Auckland to Thessaloniki, but unless you see one of its nine American Cinematheque screenings over the next six days, who knows when or if ever you'll get another chance. If you love film and Los Angeles in equal measure, that would be a terrible shame.
May 17, 2006 |
THE Festival de Cannes wants to be all things to all people, to be the place for breakout extravaganzas as well as artistic ventures. For this year's 59th edition, both ends of the spectrum have American names attached.