sorry for the mistakes!
I had to watch this film by Ralph Bakshi over and over again, a little
because it is difficult to follow all the dialogues, even if are
subtitled, and a little because it is so crazy and extreme that I
didn't believe my eyes.
Bakshi, innovator and visionary and already a very famous and
appreciated for "Fritz the cat" and "Heavy Traffic" and certainly not
satiated with provocations and satire release in 1975 "Coonskin".
Often the difficulty of the great geniuses is to make themselves
understood. In addition, indeed Bakshi is misunderstood here.
"Coonskin" is an anti-racist film, a rather harsh satire about
commonplaces about the African American community and about society
itself. In addition, about the mafia. Moreover, what does a good part
of society understand? The exact opposite, starting with the Congress
of Racial Equality, that is, an organization for the civil rights of
African Americans, which not only strongly opposes the release of the
film but also organizes stakes and protests. However, it seems that a
large part of the C.O.R.E. had not seen the film.
However, if on the one hand there is a lot of indignation, on the other
there are those who understand the message and appreciate it, albeit
hard, will to mock customs and habits. The great Roger Ebert, the New
York Times, Hollywood Report, Richard Pryor and the Wu-Tang Clan that
Bakshi were supposed to shot a remake.
Finally, technical note, the rights go from "Paramount Pictures" to the
"Bryanston Distributing Company" which however fails just a couple of
weeks after the release and after some sound parts (according to what
is quoted by "Hollywood Reporter") of Barry White are replaced by Ben
Cage, to eliminate vulgarity and racism.
"Coonskin" is, as I said at the beginning, a tough film. A
hallucinatory journey, between violence and sex, which cleverly mixes
animation and live-action and which opens with a "Fuck you" and a
The story begins with an attempt to escape by Pappy , Scatman Crothers
(who also sings about the opening credits) from the prison and with one
of his companions. Outside to help them escape are Samson (Barry White)
and a preacher played by Charles Gordone. Except that, the two of them
are blocked at a checkpoint and so, waiting to be freed, Pappy tells
the story of the cartoons, Brother Rabbit, Brother Bear and Preacher
Fox cilimbing to the top of the underworld. From the south of the
United States to Harlem, where they take out every opponent, in a very
long and very complicated trail of blood.
Symbolism everywhere, touching the apex, with an animated drawing of a
very blond and white woman, dressed with an American flag that seduces
black men to then mistreat and kill them.
Pissing everyone off. The sign of having hit the mark.