rasx() on film: 2007

I’m counting 19 articles about film written for the year 2007. That’s one more than the ones written in 2000 through 2006. It’s becoming clear to me that I am very interested in writing about film. I can only hope the hope of the captive that you are just as fascinated with me as I am!

My journeys allow me to visit Mantan Moreland, Bernie Mac, Jim Brown, Spike Lee, Howard Zinn, Alice Walker (and Spike Lee, again), Akira Kurasawa, Yasujiro Ozu, Fernando Meirelles (The Constant Gardener), Charles Burnett, Jeremy Irons, Tupac Shakur, Quincy Jones, Oprah Winfrey, Regis, Kathy Lee, Basquiat, B. Hall, Al Gore, Ousmane Sembène, Kieslowski, Bukowski, Abbas Kiarostami, Oscar Micheaux, Richard Wright, Steve Martin, Rita Levi-Montalcini and many more!

The table below will date and direct us to the articles. It will also have article excerpts and pictures. The table summarizes:

2007/02/05: “Mantan Moreland and Bernie Mac Buy this DVD at Amazon.com! “In the ‘extras’ portion of the edition of The Original Kings of Comedy that was sitting in my DVD player, you would have heard Bernie Mac complaining jokingly/bitterly about not getting work in Hollywood. And it seems he had the ‘race card’ in his wallet the whole time. Maybe this is just an Andy-Kaufman style joke coming from Bernie but The Original Kings of Comedy came out in 2000 and the significantly profitable The Bernie Mac Show came out in 2001.”
2007/02/09: “Jim Brown and Spike Lee Buy this DVD at Amazon.com! “Jim Brown and Richard Pryor tried to start a company called Indigo that was ‘destined’ to become a real, powerful Black Hollywood institution. Again, another wave of respect goes out to Spike Lee, stepping out of his ego and documenting yet another attempt by Black people to help other Black people. Even with the ego aside, one famous excuse not to commemorate these failed attempts is to ‘protect’ Black people by not airing ‘our dirty laundry’ in public. But what really happens is that we never do our laundry at all and we all become washer women for the master’s house. What really hurts is to see a professional Black actress who is damn near forty years old in tears of jealousy at some screening of some white film sobbing, ‘Why can’t we do this?’ Spike Lee doing this kind of work makes it less possible for suckers like me to feel sorry for such an uninformed person.”
2007/03/14: “Howard Zinn, Alice Walker and Spike Lee Buy this DVD at Amazon.com! “Howard Zinn taught at Spelman College for a young Alice Walker (who appears in the DVD) among others. He led the first campus-based civil disobedience movements in response to the legalized American apartheid system of the 1950s. The Negroes at Spellman eventually fired him. Zinn blames covert FBI involvement for his departure.”
2007/03/30: “Flippant Remarks about Akira Kurasawa and Yasujiro Ozu Buy this DVD at Amazon.com! “There is a relationship between Ran and Tokyo Story: both films deal with siblings throwing their parents out the house. They also criticize the degradation of the ‘morals’ of the younger generation. To me, this state of affairs is a by-product of any imperial society. …Yasujiro Ozu is famous for his tatami-mat compositions. To me this is just a cultural necessity: the characters need to sit on the floor because it’s a Japanese thang. Also whether one character is wearing ‘socks’ (tabi) or not also has Japanese meaning.”
2007/04/05: “Flippant Remarks about ‘The Constant Gardener’ Buy this DVD at Amazon.com! “The intelligence in the story The Constant Gardener is the message that, unless your trailer-park dreams are to be as rich and ignorant as that chick that said, ‘Let them eat cake’ when you refer to ‘third world’ issues, what affects ‘people of color’ will eventually affect you—sometimes in very deadly ways. And the ‘you’ I refer to are all of those couch plants leading ‘normal’ lives in this here Eisenhower thang—this military industrial complex.”
2007/04/18: “The Return of Charles Burnett Buy this DVD at Amazon.com! “This shows yet again that Black filmmakers in particular and your filmmaking friend in general can make films before trying to start a business that sells films. I can almost guarantee that Charles Burnett had no get-rich-quick schemes attached to this early work. The fact that it made money decades later is only a tribute to the man that always was there…”
2007/04/27: “Flippant Remarks about ‘Brideshead Revisited’ Buy this DVD at Amazon.com! Brideshead Revisited was and still is a heavy influence on my view of upper-class or ‘rich’ people as being those who hang on to meaningless rituals and vacant symbols in quiet desperation in concealed sadness and narcosis. These vacuous people in fact depend on the blind admiration of the lower classes to bring any life into their cold, bland world. My thoughts immediately go out to Tupac Shakur’s relationship with one of Quincy Jones’ daughters. I would rather know what Tupac is doing today than what Quincy Jones III is doing today.”
2007/05/30: “Flippant Remarks for Oprah Winfrey in 1986 Buy this DVD at Amazon.com! “What Oprah should have done with Beloved is treat it like her version of Masterpiece Theatre. It should have been cast as a true labor of love and ‘veiled in secrecy’ to be released on a small scale and designed to be a part of teaching curricula for a youth education setting. Instead of Oprah throwing this Pulitzer-Prize winning story on the mercy of a market ruled by Regis and Kathy Lee, she should have made it like some mysterious, post-modern African ritual that all Africans must do. She should have made it like more like libation than a failed business.”
2007/06/04: “Flippant Remarks about Downtown 81 Buy this DVD at Amazon.com! Downtown 81 was a film demonstrating just how close media people were to the talent. Art critics, magazine writers, music producers are all up in the film. My assumption is that this sort of ‘low class’ mixing is no longer possible—and only the relatively rich can enjoy such casual contact with present/future gate keepers. Even the locations in which the film was shot are now gentrified and paid for by Disney. The same thing is happening here in South Central Los Angeles—which is why Freestyle—the Art of Rhyme is going to be even more important in the future.”
2007/06/05: “Flippant Remarks about an Inconvenient Truth Buy this DVD at Amazon.com! “Al Gore opens his presentation with the most famous photograph in history: a picture of the earth fully lit by the Sun. It is no accident, here in the rasx() context, that the Nile Valley civilizations of the so-called “Horn of Africa” are shown in this photograph. When these civilizations fell, that was the end of civilization. My ultra-orthodox, ultra-conservative view of civilization is why you are not my pal. Sorry. No group hug. (Too bad for me.)”
2007/6/11: “Living with the Legacy of Ousmane Sembène Buy this DVD at Amazon.com! “So here is a detail that interests me from the 1975 comedy, Xala: while the African ‘leaders’ of the African ‘nation’ choose socialism, the Sembène eye sees two Europeans walking into seat of post-colonial African power with suitcases full of cash about to execute a very non-socialist transaction. The selling out of these African leaders dances before your eyes in a lighthearted, filmic waltz.”
2007/06/22: “Flippant Remarks about the Double Life of Véronique Buy this DVD at Amazon.com! “The weird scene with the flasher during Weronika’s ominous heart attack reminds people, who are not attractive women, that these women live a strange often brutal world of ‘genetic celebrity.’ Kieslowski’s humorous but foreboding recognition of this resonates with me since I did not grow up with a sister. It took me years to understand that being considered attractive at an early age can be, in extreme cases, a death sentence for the sensitive, intelligent little girl. It can be a different kind of death of innocence and fearlessness. She can learn about betrayal at an impressionable age from the men she would least suspect. But Kieslowski is careful to tell us that Weronika and Véronique each have good fathers—and after the flasher walks away from Weronika she just smiles to herself from a safe distance. She wipes her lips with the phallic stick of balm… Another problem solved.”
2007/07/12: “Charles Bukowski Documentary is a must for poets… Buy this DVD at Amazon.com! “In the introduction to ‘Robert Kaufman: San Francisco Beat’ my ‘extremely offensive’ suggestion was that Jack Keroac had a little too much Robert Kaufman to lean on in San Francisco. This suggestion is extremely offensive to those who are almost instantly fatigued about the scope and depth of African contributions to European thought—including the word ‘thought’ itself (study Thoth and get back to me). You can make a dynastic Hollywood entertainment executive who has multiple generations living off of Black genius become uncharacteristically enraged about the ‘historical partnership’ his family has with that relatively poor Black family with its actor, musician, scientist, athlete, etc.”
2007/07/18: “Accusing Abbas Kiarostami of having no politics in his films… Mania Akbari in 10 “These same people, like Jonathan Curiel of The San Francisco Chronicle, admit that Kiarostami is banned in Iran but somehow he has not done enough to curse his land, sow the ground with salt, marry the alleged twin sister of Kofi Anan’s wife, and move to a small town in Nebraska. When Americans behave this way, the sane and educated person cannot ignore the colonial and imperial heritage, that makes Pollyanna such a bitch. It would not surprise me to find the same Jonathan Curiel saying that Spike Lee is ‘too political’ and would provide additional unsolicited revisions to several of his films.”
2007/08/22: “Flippant Remarks about Guns Germs and Steel Buy this DVD at Amazon.com! “The real, deadly meaning of malaria and colonization was dramatized in the last episode of Guns, Germs, and Steel. Negroes (who imagine themselves as Africans) ‘living’ in big, European-style cities are literally killing their children trying to be white. The previous sentence sounds cruel but too many Negroes ‘think’ that assimilation with the total elimination of ancestral information is harmless. For more information about this health crisis, see the Zambia Malaria Foundation. My commendations go out to the makers of Guns, Germs, and Steel for taking the time to explain that pre-colonial Africans knew how to live with malaria and that their descendants, robbed of their data, are literally dying for lack of knowledge!”
2007/10/09: “The Aryan Negroes at Narmada Dam Buy this DVD at Amazon.com! “In the documentary film Drowned Out, you can hear Indian government officials gushing about this technical achievement like ‘African American’ (Negro) jubilee singers invited to sing at Carnegie hall for the first time. They literally say the word ‘prove’—as these Indian Negroes seek to prove themselves as a world-class power, like Michael Jackson eager to give himself plastic surgery (and you know how the pop world regards the King of Pop). This effort is eerily similar to the dam building in China—however China is a little bit of ahead of India as we are now ‘allowed’ to read headlines like ‘China admits giant dam could cause ecological disaster.’”
2007/11/07: “Flippant Remarks about Oscar Micheaux and Richard Wright Buy this DVD at Amazon.com! “One of the jokes about the Negro middle class is that the “average” Negro professional man, a lawyer or a doctor, can only aspire to marry a sugar-momma schoolteacher in Washington and settle down to doing very little work because of the racial barriers set firmly in place against technical Negro men—is this joke out of date? I don’t think so…”
2007/12/11: “Flippant Remarks about Shopgirl Buy this DVD at Amazon.com! “So Steve Martin’s Shopgirl is not just a bunch of pictures of white people thinking. First of all, Steve Martin is talented enough and humanoid enough to actually be more than a white person (for a time)—which is an incredible compliment coming from me. He is a childlike force that brightened my childhood—and he has matured to tackle subjects of gender and class that many a seasoned Hollywood player would call ‘too difficult’ for film. I leave it as an exercise to those in the know who was that guy that said ‘we’ can’t write scripts for women. Or female roles in Hollywood are ‘problematic.’ Steve Martin shows in one ‘low budget’ film made on location in Los Angeles how much of bunch of bullshit this position is.”
2007/12/13: “Flippant Remarks about Death by Design/The Life and Times of Life and Times Buy this DVD at Amazon.com! “This documentary shows us that life works within the unity of creation and destruction. You would not have the fingers on your hands were it not for the cells that grew between the digits ‘dying.’ According to the documentary, the subject of cellular death was ‘discovered’ and forgotten twice in Western history. The name of Rita Levi-Montalcini is important here because she was woman while a scientist—and she was Jewish while living in Italy in World War II—two very ‘good’ reasons why this subject is often overlooked—since she made the first ‘discovery’ of cellular death doing research in her lab/bedroom under a form of house arrest.”