Monday, February 01, 2010

Classified X

Melvin Van Peebles' Classified X. FR / US / GB 1998. TV documentary. PC: Centre National de la Cinématographie (CNC) / Channel 4 Television Corporation / Ecoutez Voir / La Sept-Arte / Les Films d'Ici / Procirep / TP / Yeah, Inc. EX: Melvin Van Peebles, Patrick Dumez, Yves Jeanneau. P: Yves Jeanneau, Christine Le Goff. D+DP: Mark Daniels – original format: video – has been also available on 35 mm. SC: Melvin Van Peebles. S: Olivier Schwob. ED: Janince Jones, Catherine Mabilat. NARRATOR: Melvin Van Peebles. PERFORMERS IN ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE: Margaret Barker, Joanna Barnes, Ethel Barrymore, Harry Belafonte, Ingrid Bergman, David Brian, Lloyd Bridges, Steve Brodie, Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, James Burke, Jeff Corey, Lou Costello, Jeanne Crain, Tony Curtis, Dorothy Dandridge, Gloria DeHaven, Douglas Dick, Tamara Dobson, Kirk Douglas, James Edwards, Mel Ferrer, Errol Flynn, Nina Foch, Ava Gardner, Will Geer, Mel Gibson, Lillian Gish, Danny Glover, Cary Grant, Kathryn Grayson, Pam Grier, Juano Hernandez, Lena Horne, Katharine Houghton, John Hud-kins, Richard Hylton, Rex Ingram, Claude Jarman, Jr., Al Jolson, Martin Luther King, Kevin Kline, Burt Lancaster, Canada Lee, Vivien Leigh, Frank Love-joy, Lee Marvin, Harpo Marx, May McAvoy, Hattie McDaniel, Nina Mae McKinney, Adolphe Menjou, Zakes Mokae, Barry Nelson, Laurence Olivier, Frederick O'Neal, Ron O'Neal, Maureen O'Sullivan, Beatrice Pearson, Sidney Poitier, Dick Powell, Mickey Rooney, Richard Roundtree, Robert Ryan, George Siegmann, Kenneth Spencer, James Stewart, Woody Strode, Shirley Temple, Peter Ustinov, Ethel Waters, Johnny Weissmuller, Richard Widmark, Martin Wilkins, Dooley Wilson, Penelope Wilton, Malcolm X. 53 min. Dvd screened in Cinema Orion (Black History Month), 1 Feb 2010.

An excellent survey of representations of African-Americans in the cinema as seen by Melvin Van Peebles. It starts with Edison (the watermelon contests) and the montages of racial stereotypes make quite shocking viewing. Black people as clowns, cowards, victims of lynchings, figures of shame. - New images in Pinky, Lost Boundaries, Intruder in the Dust. - Control of the media: black independent cinema, Oscar Micheaux. - African-American stereotypes were so pervasive that African-Americans accepted them themselves. - Carry the plate figures. - Entertainment: black musicals, Lena Horne. - The disappearance of black independent cinema for 30 years. - White fantasies on what black people would like to see. - Omnipresent marginalization. - Blaxploitation. - The colour of money is not black or white but green. - A great and worthy compilation essay.

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