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70s1. African American Representation and Car Wash
70s1. African American Representation and Car Wash
70s1. African American Representation and Car Wash
70s1. African American Representation and Car Wash
70s1. African American Representation and Car Wash
70s1. African American Representation and Car Wash
70s1. African American Representation and Car Wash
70s1. African American Representation and Car Wash
70s1. African American Representation and Car Wash
70s1. African American Representation and Car Wash
70s1. African American Representation and Car Wash
70s1. African American Representation and Car Wash
70s1. African American Representation and Car Wash
70s1. African American Representation and Car Wash
70s1. African American Representation and Car Wash
70s1. African American Representation and Car Wash
70s1. African American Representation and Car Wash
70s1. African American Representation and Car Wash
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70s1. African American Representation and Car Wash

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  • 1. US Cinema of the 1970s: African American Representation and Car Wash Prof. Julia Leyda September 23, 2011
  • 2. quiz How does music play a role in the movie?Why is the music important?
  • 3. political and social consciousness  1960s white flight and urban life: crime, drugs, police brutality, poverty (also countercultures and liberation movements)  assassinations: John F. Kennedy in 1963, Malcolm X in 1965, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy in 1968  riots:Watts and 298 cities from 1967-68  resistance: Black Power movement, Nation of Islam, and Black Panther Party
  • 4. criticism of black images  stereotypes sometimes replaced by very limited “positive” images  impatience with “ebony saint” Sidney Poitier’s gentle, bourgeois, integrationist image  some improvement in the macho athlete characters of the 60s: tough, strong, but controlled by whites  but still, movies didn’t show black themes, issues, or communities—only isolated, idealized individuals surrounded by whites
  • 5. economic crisis in Hollywood  driven only by short-term profit, conservative industry won’t change unless forced to  blacks were 10-15% of US population, but 30% of moviegoers in top theaters (first-run, city)  Hollywood saw easy money in blaxploitation formula of Sweetback, an independent movie with a $500,000 budget that grossed $10,000,000
  • 6. blaxploitation  exploitation movies: sensational, often trashy B-movies aimed at a particular audience, designed to earn money; often extremely violent or sexual; includes blaxploitation, sexploitation, splatter films  black + action + exploitation = blaxploitation  cycle of cheaply made, black-cast action movies set in the ghetto, released between 1969-74  Has any of you seen a blaxploitation movie?
  • 7. blaxploitation formula  started with Sweetback and Shaft  a “badass” black man fights against the corrupt, racist white system and wins  action movie: fight scenes and chase scenes, showing the superiority of the hero against cruel, stupid white villains  emphasis on fashion, music,“cool” hero(ine)
  • 8. Car Wash 1976  large ensemble cast in multiple subplots, compared to RobertAltman  elements of blaxploitation: working-class black folks,“gritty realism” in car wash setting  musical comedy, not action genre  strong social messages of populism, tolerance  nominated for Palme D’Or at Cannes  several hit songs from soundtrack
  • 9. discussion questions  What was your reaction to CarWash at first?  What do you think of it after learning more about black representation and blaxploitation?Why?
  • 10. Mr. B., boss, and Lonnie, manager
  • 11. Irwin, Maoist pothead
  • 12. T.C., “Fly” blaxploitation hero
  • 13. Duane / Abdullah, angry black Muslim
  • 14. Lindy, tough wise-cracking queen
  • 15. mean rich woman
  • 16. Daddy Rich, sleazy evangelist
  • 17. Marlene, melancholy hooker
  • 18. discussion question  What do you think about the use of comedy and music in Car Wash? Could it work as a drama instead?

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