Black Cinema

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WGST 300—BLACK CINEMA

Option A: Select two or more films from this course and compare and/or contrast them, using one or more of the above criteria (shared themes, etc.). SUPERFLY and DUTCHMAN “Lights, camera, and action!!” A popular phrase noted throughout the film and cinematic industry, but to directors, actors, and viewers of African American or Black Cinema this famous phrase helped jumpstart a movement throughout the black culture. Starting with radical movies that explained racial undertones and barriers in the United States for freedom and equality, “The Dutchman” and “Superfly” facilitated more than just a wakeup call to individuals of every race, particularly the black people, but they also helped voice the concerns and issues sometimes quieted and put down by political hindrances. These same hindrances that impeded on the Black Panther movement and were closely tied to political assassinations, found that they could not touch the art of film, which helped lead the movement to freedom by first moving from silence to sound. The Dutchman, written first as a play by Amiri Baraka utilizes imagery, metaphor, and irony to portray the whole of society as a machine. Baracka’s use and placed emphasis on the subway car illustrates the metaphorical forward motions and inescapability of racist, bigoted social norms. Juxtaposing in “Superfly,” these inescapable racial and bigoted norms were brought to a more realistic portrayal of the time, depicting not only racism, but drugs and dealers who fight for survival amid a civil rights movement which at the time, failed to provide beneficial economic activity to provide legal opportunities for black people. However, in both films there is a representation the director wanted to portray to the audience in the form of masculinity amongst inequality and political corruption. Stuart Hall explains this representation in his article, “New Ethnicities,” as “another way of talking about how one images a reality that exists...
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