Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song

Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song

Very early on, there is some revolting homophobia going down in this film. If we step back and pretend that that part didn't happen, this would be a masterpiece. If we acknowledge that it has an extended sequence where it suggests lesbians just want a big dick in them, well... ew.

What this film is is an avant garde funk music video with a loose narrative about the struggle of African-America against white oppression condensed into the form of a single, hyper-sexual protective spirit who is viewed as a hero and a rube at once. The police at first believe him to be on their side, but his actions quickly disabuse them of that notion. From then on, he is a quasi-folkloric outlaw who sacrifices for the betterment of his world. It's not a tale of revenge. It's not a tale of escape. It's not a tale of revolution. It's a tale of a symbol.

It's a crude film in many ways, and some of it works very well (the rawness of it) while other parts (the scatological humor) is unwelcome. The soundtrack is strange, funky, and blue, and the weird exposure effects and editing are delightfully psychedelic, encapsulating the era it was made in while also evoking the distortions of reality that pervade this film--it's a fantasy sequence, almost, with very real touches.

December count: 92/100.

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