Tuesday, 5 June 2012

April Films: More impressive blockbusting

Okay so I'm a little behind, but here are the films I saw in April; well some of them at least. April was largely taken up by two things: shit loads of MA work with deadlines every week throughout the month, and the final third of the month being dominated - when not essay writing/presentation preparing - by the Bradford International Film Festival. Rather than merge the films seen at the festival into the rest of my April films I will have a separate list going up of all BIFF films seen, in the usual crass manner of ranking them in order of preference. So all the films below were either watched in the context of MA work (presentation on exploitation cinema for instance), or in a family context. I'm pretty sure it's clear which is which. For instance, no, I didn't watch Coffy with my five Year old son. Nor did I use Mirror Mirror to illustrate uses of screen realism for an MA module. 

As usual, it's pretty straight up opinion and impressions, mostly taken from my initial Tweets after watching the film. I haven’t really bothered with names of the filmmakers involved, nor have given much in lines of a standard synopsis. What I have done this month though, is provided a link from each film to their IMDB profile where you can find all that jazz.

Films watched for the first time this month (in order of preference)

Avengers - 2012

Blockbuster filmmaking par excellence - See my Culture Vultures family post for my gushing initial response - Families Assemble

Coffy - 1973

A head blown clean off and female nudity in the first minute sets the bar for this film. Appealing to a wide, young audience by being wonderfully exploitative, but being packed with subversive subtext. This is black and it's proud, as well as being feminist and proud. A regular working class, street savvy nurse seeking to exact revenge upon the drug and prostitution trade that she holds responsible for the death of her sister. Of course 'the white man' is behind it all, but that doesn’t stop the film being critical of the assisting, greedy black presence holding the people back.

Sweet Sweetback’s Badassss Song - 1971

#3TweetReview Perfect example of a text that sparked a movement. Unlike all that followed it (exploited its appeal) this isn’t aesthetically exploitative. It’s much closer to a more traditional art film. Not only critical of the ‘white man’, but Sweetback receives little assistance from senior black figures (corrupted by the white devil I'd imagine) yet he does from his brothers on the street.

Mirror Mirror - 2012

#3TweetReview: Best family film this year, possibly even last year [in hindsight, nowhere near as good as Tangled or Puss in Boots]. Subverting gender-power structures, revolt and rebellion glorious visuals and plenty'a chuckles all make a complete package. Especially like small touches, such as blunt allegory that sees a part-fictional, half-true 'evil monster' created and manipulated by authorities to keep proles scared and 'in their place' (i.e. War on terror)

Cannibal Man (La semana del asesino) - 1973

#3TweetReview Billed as exploitative schlock in a way that gets it to a wide audience, but is wildly critical of Franco-dictated uber-masculinity causing serious psychological repression, resulting here in a pretty gruesome killing spree. Issues of class raised subtly by depictions of the landscape (shacks Vs high-rise modernity), and blatantly: "police listen to the rich only"

Meet the Feebles - 1989

A conscious and quite relentless attack on taste and accepted boundaries. Specific lines of dialogue purposefully address the way that certain social circles deem some things as 'quality' and therefore acceptable, and some things as 'trash' so therefore not acceptable

Films rewatched this month, so therefor not included in the preference ranking above

No One Knows About Persian Cats - 2009

Rewatched in the context of writing an essay for my Screen Realism MA module regarding this film's blending of the real and the fictional. Might get round to posting the essay at some point, it received a mark of 83 so I think it's worth reading. The film will be playing at Mnicine in a few months so will post the essay then-ish.

New releases seen this month

The Avengers
Mirror Mirror

Ongoing list of films this year

The Avengers
The Hunger Games
Surviving Life (Theory and Practice)
War Horse
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
The Descendents
Mirror Mirror
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Journey 2: the Mysterious Island
Woman in Black
Dangerous Method
The Pirates.
Bel Ami
Star Wars Episode 1


  1. i need to watch more blaxploitation films! COFFY would be a good start.

  2. Yeah you should. I felt the same way, which is precisely why I based one of my MA modules around exploitation cinema. Gave me the perfect opportunity to immerse myself.
    You can watch Ice-T's doc on Blaxploitation, Kiss My Baadasssss on Youtube. Might get you in the mood.
    Plus there's a good book called Baaad Bitches and Sassy Supermamas, which is an interesting read about women in Blaxploitation