Students study these works in their historical background in order to place them in a wider cultural context. A philosophical approach to each period Puritanism, Rationalism, Transcendentalism, Romanticism, Realism, Naturalism, Existentialism, and Modernism aims at giving students a better understanding of their intellectual history and providing students an understanding of American Literature as both a reflection and a criticism of American life and culture, as writers seek to define and explain the search for the American Dream. Frequent writing assignments require practice in critical and logical thinking, in applying the techniques of critical analysis, and make this course writing intensive. Students learn research methods leading to a term paper as well as vocabulary improvement.
Featuring African-American actors in lead roles and often having anti-establishment plots, the films were frequently condemned for stereotypical characterization and glorification of violence. Critics of the films saw them as morally bankrupt and as portraying black actors in the most negative way.
However, not everyone in the black community agreed as they provided black audiences with cinematic heroes up on the silver screen in a more honest portrayal of urban life unseen in most Hollywood pictures prior to that time.
It is important to note that Blaxploitation arose at a critical juncture for the Hollywood film industry. The s were a turbulent time in American race relations, and the civil rights movement exploded into the national consciousness. As the decade wore on, cries of "Black Power" were heard from the ghettos across America, and it became increasingly difficult for Hollywood studios to ignore black society.
While black political activists battled in the courtrooms and the streets for the end of segregation, for voting rights, and for equal rights, black filmmakers and actors began to infiltrate Hollywood.
By the late s, the major Hollywood studios were still reeling from the profound effects of a two-decade old Justice Department lawsuit that involved their profitable theater monopolies.
Combined with the insurgence of television, and the drop in audience popularity for "The Musical" the film industry was losing millions of dollars, forcing many to face the distinct prospect of bankruptcy.
The civil rights movement and some bad luck for Hollywood studios would come together at just the right moment and Blaxploitation would be born. Enter Melvin Van Peebles, the first modern-day folk hero of black cinema. As writer, producer, director, soundtrack composer, and star, he lit the fuse of Blaxploitation in with his independently financed film Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song.
Shot on a miniscule budget in little more than two weeks, the film and its provocative depiction of a black man fighting the system, and winning, understandably struck a chord with African-American audiences around the country.
Sweet Sweetback may have been credited with kicking off the genre, but MGM's release of Shaft, a few months later, probably set a more precise blueprint for all the movies that would follow.
Taking a risk, they hired Gordon Parks, who had been the first black mainstream Hollywood director with The Learning Tree to direct Richard Roundtree in the movie that would ultimately rescue MGM from financial ruin and receive an Oscar for Isaac Hayes' enduring score.
Shaft provided audiences with a sexy, practically omnipotent hero, in the style of a "Black James Bond", and his precarious balancing act between the white world and the ghetto. The success of Sweet Sweetback and Shaft came just as Hollywood fully realized the power of the black ticket-buying public, which accounted for more than thirty percent of the box office in major cities and quickly seized upon the potential profitability of the new formula.
Directed by Gordon Parks Jr. Throughan estimated Blaxploitation feature films were produced with the range of stories as varied as mainstream action films.
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However, action, gratuitous violence, and guns were the underlying element in all of them and most used a black versus white dichotomy as the defining element.
Every available genre was plundered in an attempt to re-hash old movie plots and ideas. It wasn't all macho, misogynistic posturing either.
The voluptuous Amazonian figures of Pam Grier and Tamara Dobson led the female charge as a gun totin', revenge seeking, super-mamas who flaunted their sexuality with hard-hitting films like Coffy, Foxy Brown and Cleopatra Jones.
The one consistent ingredient underneath it all was the brilliant music, which, whether coming from James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield or Isaac Hayes, added an element of depth and sophistication.
Blaxploitation movies proved that black actors possessed a strong box-office appeal and despite many of the films being written, directed, and produced by white Hollywood, black audiences finally saw the recognition African American actors, directors and writers deserved, and fought for, since the early days of silent film.
But, by the mids a backlash against Blaxploitation began to bloom. The studios received considerable criticism from black pressure groups, including the NAACP, for the negative stereotypes featured in most of the genre's movies that were eroding the positive role models and reinforcing white prejudices about black culture.
Audiences had also tired of the industry's cheap, endless re-workings of the crime-action-ghetto formula. Within a year production pretty much stopped dead, ironically putting the black actors and technicians who had fought so hard to get into the movie business back out of work.
Film is a cultural product produced by people living and working at a certain point in time. From Long Island Newsday paperboy, with the largest route in Port Washington, to Master of the Universe, as Tom Wolfe characterized his kind in Bonfire of the Vanities, Anthony's life was the embodiment of the American metin2sell.com://metin2sell.com?hl=en_US. · The "Hollywood Guns" exhibit "spotlights firearms that have thrilled moviegoers for generations," the NRA website metin2sell.com://metin2sell.com
The boom was over and Blaxploitation's popularity declined as quickly as it rose. In retrospect, Blaxploitation and the legacy it left behind have been acknowledged as a positive contribution to African American film history.
The emergence of young black actors like Eddie Murphy in the early s assisted with the assimilation of black culture into the conventional Hollywood movie.
Having already directed the cult hit Story of a Three Day Pass and Watermelon Man Peebles was already considered controversial and publicity conscious.
It was hard to distribute with the X rating it received from the Motion Picture Association but quick to draw moviegoers of all color. He emerged as a director with an emphatic style that captured the restless tempo of s ghetto life and changed the whole conception of what a black film character should be.
Its unprecedented success proved there was a place for a new kind of black movie. Hollywood was closely watching this newly defined and accepted film concept.
Director Gordon Parks, Sr. The Isaac Hayes Academy Award winning soundtrack, on the charts for well over one year, was a phenomenon all it's own. Critics both black and white applauded this film. Roundtree's career never recovered from the stereotype that created his fame.His film The Searchers () starring John Wayne was named The Greatest American Western of All Time by the American Film Institute.
The film's protagonist, Ethan Edward, is a Civil War veteran who enters on a quest to find his niece, who has been kidnapped by a tribe of Comanche metin2sell.com://metin2sell.com · Jon is a part time misanthrope, full time American.
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Jun 19, · American movies have been telling stories that idealize hard work, strong character and the rise of the little man for decades.
But there's always a catch. NPR's Bob Mondello looks at what Hollywood means when it talks about the American dream. 1The Vicious Cycle of Racial Stereotypes Imagine a modern day minstrel show. The Year is and a prominent television metin2sell.com /theviciouscyclevuyanibhendilecreditmake-up.
Sep 20, · The war film genre includes films about warfare, including naval, air or land battles. Films in this genre may focus on the battles, prisoners of war, military training, life during wartime or morality and humanitarian issues of warfare.
American culture has influenced and shaped the world through centuries. Each day, we witness its diversity and its impact on day-to-day life, worldwide.
Music has played an important role in the development and the diffusion of an American identity and molded a typical, and sometimes stereotypical, image of the United States.