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SWEET SWEETBACK'S BAADASSSSS SONG
A film by Melvin Van Peebles
Having learned the ways of the world being brought up in a brothel, street hustler Sweetback has earned his name through his legendary sexual prowess, cementing his reputation night after night to an audience of hopheads and hipsters hungry for spectacle.
One night on a routine cover-up job with two crooked cops, Sweetback watches a young black man get beaten within an inch of his life and decides to fight back. His action set in motion a journey through the dark heart of 1970s urban America still writhing in the flames of the race riots, encountering motorcycle gangs, back power militants, fascist public officials and a torrent of insatiable women every step of the way.
Conceived and directed by its star Melvin Van Peebles, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song has a distinctive gritty style in keeping with the independent spirit of the times, combining the streetwise realism of Paul Morrissey with the sexual hysteria of Russ Meyer. A brash depiction of urban African American life previously unseen on the screen, its political resonance was confirmed in the Black Panthers' vocal acclaim of the film.
This controversial classic of Black Cinema and independent filmmaking was one of the most successful films of its time and is justly credited with kick-starting the Blaxploitation genre.
The Real Deal: a 30 minute documentary on Melvin Van Peebles' life as a filmmaker
Biography of Melvin Van Peebles
USA | 1971 | colour | 97 minutes | Ratio 1.33:1 | Region 2 DVD