An area of American B-movie filmmaking that I’ve always found so mesmerising is the Blaxploitation movement of the early seventies. Whilst the counterculture movement were opposing the Vietnam war and getting their prog’on with Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s Brain Salad Surgery LP (their worst, if you’re wondering), America’s ethnic minority groups were being creatively stimulated from within.
Introducing new acting talent and the formidably brilliant soul and funk musicians of the metropolises, Blaxploitation movies circulated in underground cultural centres as a black-specific representative medium, made by the people and for the people. A couple of decades later and with hindsight, it’s clear that for all their loveably shambolic charm, the socio-commentary of Blaxploitation films were somewhat skewed between encouraging black empowerment, and reify ignorant white stereotypes.
So, I invited a bunch of friend’s over and we watched a classic of the sub-genre. Starring American football player Fred Williamson, soundtracked by “The Godfather of Soul” James Brown and directed by jewish upstarter Larry Cohen, Black Caesar is as peculiar a film as one could expect. Peculiar can be fun though, as this (delightfully?) shambolic review proves.
1) A ‘ledger’ is an anthology of financial accounts.
2) Proof that a late night film discussion is almost never an enlightening experience.