Reel Black: Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song

Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song

USA | 1971 | 97 min. | Melvin Van Peebles

August 25, 2024

Reel Black: SoulGenre

In a rebellious odyssey against systemic injustice, a charismatic outsider defies societal norms, navigating a gritty world of revolution, passion, and empowerment in this influential 1971 cinematic milestone.


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Sunday, August 25, 2024

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A landmark of Black and American independent cinema that would send shock waves through the culture, Acting as producer, director, writer, composer, editor, and star, Melvin Van Peebles created the prototype for what Hollywood would eventually co-opt and make into the blaxploitation hero: a taciturn, perpetually blank-faced performer in a sex show, who, when he’s pushed too far by a pair of racist cops looking to frame him for a crime he didn’t commit, goes on the run through a lawless underground of bikers, revolutionaries, sex workers, and hippies in a kill-or-be-killed quest for liberation from white oppression. Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song’s incendiary politics are matched by Van Peebles’s revolutionary style, in which jagged jump cuts, kaleidoscopic superimpositions, and psychedelic sound design come together in a sustained howl of rage and defiance.

  • Director: Melvin Van Peebles
  • Principal Cast: Melvin Van Peebles, Hubert Scales, John Dullaghan, Simon Chuckster, Mario Van Peebles
  • Country: USA
  • Year: 1971
  • Running Time: 97 min.
  • Producer: Jerry Gross, Melvin Van Peebles
  • Screenplay: Melvin Van Peebles
  • Cinematographers: Robert Maxwell
  • Editors: Melvin Van Peebles
  • Music: Earth Wind & Fire, Melvin Van Peebles
  • Filmography: Don't Play Us Cheap (1973), Identity Crisis (1989), Gang in Blue (1996), Confessionsofa Ex-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha (2008)
  • Language: English

Reel Black: SoulGenre

Immerse yourself in a captivating journey through the rich tapestry of Black genre films with our thrilling series Reel Black: SoulGenre. 

From groundbreaking horror to electrifying sci-fi, each screening explores the cultural impact and creative brilliance of Black filmmakers in genres that have often been overlooked. Uncover the untold stories, delve into the symbolism, celebrate the diverse voices with guest speakers, and connect with local community organizations. Get ready for an extraordinary exploration of Black Excellence in genres that transcend boundaries and redefine storytelling.