June 4, 2004 |
Few people pay $1 million for therapy in their lifetime. Mario Van Peebles spent that in one fell swoop while making his film "Baadasssss!," an affectionate but unsentimental portrait of his father, director Melvin Van Peebles. "There's been some real healing," said Mario Van Peebles earlier this week as he continued a promotional tour for "Baadasssss!
May 28, 2004 |
Back in 1971 Melvin Van Peebles, already one of the first black directors to have had a film in general release with "Watermelon Man" the year before, scorched screens across America with "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song," a surreal odyssey in which Van Peebles played a pimp on the lam after becoming involved in the killing of a brutal cop. The film's seeming incoherence, intended or otherwise, became expressive of Sweetback's predicament and induced identification with him.
February 3, 2004 |
With more than 160 films from such diverse origins as Mauritania, Mali, Cuba, Kenya and Ghana, the Pan African Film and Arts Festival strives to reflect a broad spectrum of the community that surrounds it. Now in its 12th year and running mainly at the Magic Johnson Theatres at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, the festival also includes exhibitions of local fine arts, crafts and fashion.
January 3, 2003 |
Actor Melvin Van Peebles is walking quickly through the Renaissance sculpture gallery of the Walters Art Museum, being pursued by a tall black woman with a menacingly purposeful stride, who is being pursued by actor Melvin Van Peebles, who is being pursued by a tall black woman with a menacingly purposeful stride, who is ... Get the idea? If not, don't worry. There promises to be plenty more suitably odd and calculatedly impressionistic scenes in "Baltimore: Baadasssss Cinema Part 2."
January 29, 2002 |
The two actors are awash in a stark light while everyone outside camera range is in shadows. Even amid the relative darkness, you can make out the young faces of eager students in Studio A in Hofstra University's Dempster Hall. But among students clad in jeans, sneakers and sweats, one figure casts a decidedly different aesthetic. He wears an orange turtleneck sweater and green sweatshirt under a tan wool suit--in deference to the chill in the cavernous studio.
June 16, 2000 |
I actually saw "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song" (1971) during its first run. I was a young white teacher in one of Philadelphia's several all-black, or mostly black, high schools; I also had the distinction of teaching one of the few accredited courses on black American history that year. "Sweet Sweetback" was in its third sold-out week at Philadelphia's Milgram Theater, one of its very few remaining downtown movie houses, and several of my students, mostly male, had seen it repeatedly.