Posted in Cult film, U.S. Film

COONSKIN (1975)

coonskin

A film by Ralph Bakshi

Cast: Barry White, Charles Gordone, Scatman Crothers

The reasons I heard about this film is that Quentin Tarantino has a movie theater in Beverly hills California called New Beverly Cinema. So I looked at the program for November and this film Coonskin was on there so I decided to buy it. Now Coonskin never got in France so I got a hold of it at  a good price on Amazon but the DVD is region 1, In France we are Region 2 luckily I have a computer that can read all region and a DVD player that reads all Region too, that is how I was able to see it.  This is an animation/film. Paramount dropped it from the pressure from black group because they thought it was a racist film, so an other company got the hold of it and released it. It is a film with a skillful and innovative mixture of animation and stylized live action. Let me say for those who are a little young and see this post. Back then there where black exploitation films in the 70’s at least a dozen a year were made they freely use racial stereotypes and all of them heavy with sex and hardcore violence and they were not ambitious film. And then comes Coonskin who is very provocative and ambitious even artistic and suddenly all hell break loose. Is the matter of fact when Martin Scorsese  was shooting Taxi driver a little bit down the street there were protest in the front of the movie theater where Coonskin was playing. Using caricatures and stereotypes so outrageously Bakshi forces us to deal with them and to learn from them. The story goes like that while two (live action) convicts are awaiting a jailbreak, one tells the other the story of three black characters ( Rabbit, Fox and  Bear) who head north for Harlem and have adventures there that Uncle Remus never dreamed of. Bakshi gets us into gambling dens, bars, whorehouses, drug smuggling rings murders, gun fight etc…. He shows us almost uninterrupted violence in the Harlem underworld, both among its locals and against the white godfathers who try to cash in from outside. There is some humor at times but very little. Bakshi in order to do research for this film went to harlem with a tape recorder and ask people what it is to be black in America. Now see this film for what it is not for what it is not. Fans ask Bakshi to make an other film it is coming in 2015 the last day of Coney Island.

Picture-13

coonskin 2

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