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Boyz N the Hood
Introduction ‘Boyz in the Hood’ has been described as a powerful drama about growing up in black Urban America. Written and directed by John Singleton who grew up in the “Hood” (short for neighbourhood), in South Central Los Angeles. The film tells the story of three friends: Tre, Doughboy and Ricky. At the beginning of the film we see Tre living with his mother. At school he gets involved in classroom conflicts with other pupils, breaking a’ contract’ that he had with his mother to behave. The result of this is that his mother feels it is time for Tre’s father (Furious Styles) to resume his responsibility for Tre and teach him values that – Singleton is clearly saying in the film – only a father can. Set against this example of a father taking responsibility for his son, are Tre’s two friends, Ricky and Doughboy. They live with their mother in the same neighbourhood. The absence of their father is conspicuous throughout the movie. Doughboy is seen going ‘off the rails’ whilst still a young boy. By the time he is seventeen he has already served a jail sentence and his future seems to be set in a pattern of selling drugs and gang violence. Ricky becomes a father while still at school. The cycle of children deserted by fathers unable to cope psychologically or economically with a family seems likely to repeat itself. The ‘hope’ for Ricky is that he sees a football scholarship leading to a college place as his way out of the violence and poverty of the area. John Singleton has said he is pleased that his film reaches a wider audience than the Black community as it “deals with ordinary human conditions. Everyone sees a part of themselves in the film.” He believes that story and character are the most important aspects of filmmaking: “Never be afraid of your material. The audience should not think they are watching a movie,” he says.
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