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Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song

"Dedicated to all the Brothers and Sisters Who Have Had Enough Of The Man,"

In Italy a popular prover say that who makes things himself do it for three persons. However, if we compare this with what Melvin Van Peebles did with "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, the proverb seems very poor.

Van Peebles in 1971, writes, directs, produces, plays, do the stunt himself, composed the soundtrack and when he can’t do without use his children to create this movie. A milestone movie, a work that opened the door to the "blaxploitation."

Without detracting the successors of the genre (you know how much we like blaxploitation), "Sweet Sweetback's BaadasssssSong", traveling in different channels. The intention is more intellectual, more political and often sends a strong message that sometimes, however, is undercut by banality and incredible free situations.

Even with some trimming this movie remains a symbol with its historical importance and for the fact that it was able to sensitize the black communities even having the support of the "Black Panthers."

Stylistically, "Sweet Sweetback's" with all his craftsmanship is a little gem of ideas. Shooting fast with hand-held camera sometimes truncated shoot, fragmented, identifying the audience into the story and made ​​stronger by a strange sort of "greek chorus" that serves as narrator. What is wanted or not, we'll never know, but they are also obvious references to the "Novelle Vague."

The beginning of silent sequences opens with two overlays that suggest the objective and the ideas of the director. In the first the interpreters are accredited with a cumulative "The black community" and in the dedication is "To All Brothers And Sisters Who Had Enough Of The Man", sub index whites.

This great movie starts with a spark idea of creating a film in which a black man appear as a winner  and in second place also demonstrate that an independent movie could have success.

Objectives centered, primarily due to a history that is based on denial of rights. "Sweet" is a boy (played by Van Peebles's son Mario) who is initiated into sex by a prostitute, who impressed by him gives the nickname.

Many years later, "Sweet" is a kind of artist who performs in off club where he had sex only with black women, who are very satisfied and where the crowd applause his performances. But one day, led away by police as a suspect, he is witness during the transport of abuses by the policemen against a “Black Panther”.

With a nice comparison with an amusement luna park highlighted on film negative, the policemen beat the guy but "Sweet" captures the moment, he gives freedom to the guy and takes revenge on the policemen.

From here starts the manhunt. On the one hand the police by violent means, seek information and in the other hand we see “Sweet” who escape not always helped by the black community. In these modern picaresque adventures, also end up the "Hell's Angels" and the hot California desert epilogue of the film, but not of history.

Everything goes on and the suffering is palpable. It would be perfect if Van Peebles not exaggerated with machismo, describing the main character as a "stud" who had sex without ever disappointing, threatening to become a "Sweet" a caricature.

Appreciated by critics, adored by the public, the film was a success that led then to hit Van Peebles also his second goal.

A film so homely and adventurous necessarily have an infinite number of curiosities from the pre-production. The idea came after the failure of a film of Van Peebles 'Watermelon Man' shot for the "Columbia Pictures".The director under contract with the studio slowly began to think about a new story, deciding to do everything alone for his work. In a sense also Bill Cosby participated in the production, giving to Van Peebles fifty thousand dollars. He didn’t want other, but only back is dollars.. "Sweet" was shot in nineteen days, using non-professional actors. From the same director's son, Mario, who plays "Sweet" as a boy in the act of initiation (obviously fake). Mario then followed his father's footsteps becoming director too and making a documentary about the production and realization of the film.

Given the sex scenes Melvin Van Peebles takes gonorrhea then asking for compensation for illness contracted at work, he reused the money received for his work. The crew was forced to shoot the scene armed to avoid the risk of incurring in bad situations. One of the weapons, the director one, was taken away and placed with those fake, it generated considerable concern in the scene where the police shoot close to the ears of the Beetle, an alleged witness, there was a risk that would be used the real gun.

Not bad story also relates that during the scene with "Hell's Angels," a biker wanted to leave the set. Reprimanded by Van Peebles, the man pulled out a knife with which he began provocatively, filing his nails. Van Peebles snapped his fingers and did get several "brothers" armed. The motorcyclist remained on set.

Part of the soundtrack was written by the director himself, quite far from being a musician, his productions are compounded by the most professional songs of "Earth, Wind &Fire.

Leaving a side the fact that the dogs died from the movie may be true, we say that "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song "is a masterpiece, an absolute must.