Mark Boulos film programme kicks off with Blaxploitation classic
14 October 2013
Created by Melvin Van Peebles, credited as the being the original Blaxploitation film and the inspiration for countless movies throughout the years, Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss! Song is violent, explicit, shocking and very, very funny!
Dedicated to ‘all the Brothers and Sisters who had enough of the Man’, the story follows Sweetback as he attempts to escape across the Mexican border after being arrested for a crime he didn’t commit.
No major American studio would finance the film, due to its subject matter, so Van Peebles used his own money and a loan of $50,000 from comedy legend Bill Cosby! He is quoted as saying ‘Cosby didn't want an equity part, he just wanted his money back’.
Due to not being financed by a studio, the film didn’t use any officially licensed crew members which put them in such danger that everyone working on the film had to carry a gun with them at all times. This came in useful when some of the film’s extras who were part of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Gang threatened to leave before they were finished for the day. Director Van Peebles snapped his fingers and the entire crew pulled out their rifles, instantly making the bikers change their minds.
The film originally opened at only two American cinemas but from it’s very first screenings it proved incredibly popular. Purely on the strength of the name alone, it expanded into more and more theatres, going on to earn over $15 million at the Box Office.
Artist Mark Boulos chose the film to screen as part of the public programme for his exhibition, due to its influence on his filmic style and its ground-breaking political resonance. Dr Eithne Quinn, Programme Director and Senior Lecturer in American Studies at the University of Manchester, will introduce the screening and discuss its legacy and unique place in cinema history.
Tickets are on sale now online, by the Box Office and by phone on 0871 902 5737