Black Superheroes on Film

Tamara Dobson in Cleopatra Jones. Photo courtesy Warner Bros./Photofest

By Maureen Masters

Taking inspiration by This particular winter’s Discharge of Disney’s Black Panther, BAMcinématek presents Fight the Power: Black Superheroes on Film, February 2—18. Drawing by the more daring elements of science fiction, comic book, along with Blaxploitation films, the series includes 27 features along that has a shorts program highlighting the tenacious spirit of black fictional characters while reimagining the textbook definition of superheroes.

The series is actually programmed by BAMcinématek Senior Programmer Ashley Clark. “Marvel’s Black Panther, directed by Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed), is actually one of the most hotly anticipated blockbusters of the year,” says Clark, “along with is actually rightly seen as a brand-new high watermark inside the representation of black characters inside the fantasy genre.”

Black Panther’s large cast features a remarkable constellation of top black talent, including Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya, along with Forest Whitaker. Clark adds, “to both celebrate along with complement the Discharge of Black Panther, BAMcinématek’s series Fight the Power: Black Superheroes on Film draws together a diverse along with international range of mythical, fantastical, along with groundbreaking fictional black screen heroes; This particular cast of memorable characters laid the path for Black Panther. by subversive Blaxploitation kings along with queens to Afrofuturistic pioneers, to Black Panther’s superheroic yet under-appreciated comic book forebears like Wesley Snipes in BladeFight the Power has the item covered.”

Halle Berry in Catwoman. Photo courtesy Warner Bros.

The series begins February 2 with Melvin Van Peebles’ Sweet Sweetback’s Baadassss Song (1971). Van Peebles wrote, directed, along with stars in This particular 70s Blaxploitation thriller of which follows male prostitute Sweet Sweetback (Peebles) as he dodges police arrest with help by some unconventional accomplices. Fight the Power includes some other iconic Blaxploitation films with memorable heroic characters including Cleopatra Jones (1973, Starrett), Foxy Brown (1974, Hill), Shaft (1971, Parks), Space is actually the Place (1974, Coney), Black Dynamite (2009, Sanders), along with anti-establishment cult classic, The Spook Who Sat by the Door (1973, Dixon).

The series includes four films straight by the pages of comic books, including selections by the Blade film series, Spawn (1997, Dippe) along with Catwoman (2004, Pitof). Based on the Marvel comic book character Blade, the 1998 hit film, written by David S. Goyer along with directed by Stephen Norrington, drew a cult following along with subsequent film franchise. Wesley Snipes stars as Blade—the half-human, half-vampire out to avenge his mother’s death along with rid the entire world of vampires. In 2002, Guillermo Del Toro directed the sequel, Blade II, wherein Blade (Snipes) joins forces with vampires to combat a brand-new type of deadly monster. Based on the comic book hero of the same name, Spawn features Michael Jai White as hell’s reluctant soldier. along with in Catwoman, based on the DC Comic, Halle Berry stars as a shy graphic designer, who, upon discovering a grave industry secret, is actually killed along with reborn with cat-like reflexes.

A selection of films spotlight fantasy along with science fiction heroes. These films include The Brother by Another Planet (1984, Sayles) about a mute, black extraterrestrial that has a gift of technical wizardry who escaped by another planet, only to end up in brand-new York. The Meteor Man (1993, Townsend) tells the story of a schoolteacher who develops superpowers after being struck by a meteor along with uses his brand-new found powers to fight crime in his neighborhood; Sleight (2016, J.D. Dillard) infuses fantastical elements in a naturalistic film about a street magician; Attack the Block (2011, Cornish) stars John Boyega along with is actually set in a South London invaded by angry aliens; in Jim Jarmusch’s Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (2000), Forest Whitaker plays a hired hitman of which lives by the code of the ancient samurai; along with Kirikou along with the Sorceress (1998, Ocelot & Burlet) is actually an animated film influenced by West African folk tales about a newborn baby with the ability to speak along with walk who saves his village by an evil witch.

Fight the Power also includes a few films with unconventional superheroes, including Candyman (1992, Rose), along with George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968). Candyman’s Tony Todd is actually an anti-hero in a film rich in compelling racial along with social commentary. Duane Jones was one of first black actors to play a lead role in a mainstream American horror film, as Ben in Night of the Living Dead.

Follow @BAMcinématek on Twitter along with Instagram along with check for a complete list of series films as well as announcements of special guest appearances.

Maureen Masters is actually BAM’s cinema publicity manager.

© 2017, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Inc. All rights reserved.

Black Superheroes on Film

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