The invention of cinema happened at the very same time as the establishment of the segregation in the South. This social and political system, which advocated prejudices and inequality of races, is definitely going to stigmatize the nature of the relationships between the American cinema and the Black community. The story of the African American cinema should be understood as a constant hesitation between protest and integration. The B of a N was first screened in February 1915. For many reasons, this film has a very special status and a very strong meaning in the history of cinema: first because of its length (172 min), then because of its budget (100 000$), its cinematographic qualities and finally because of its huge success. The B of a N is a key movie insofar as it really influenced the birth of Hollywood and the beginning of the American supremacy on cinema.
[...] III) Malcom X (1992) The African-American cinema in the 90' reflects the growing integration of the Blacks into the American society and the recognition of their identity: more and more African-American movies, more and more black actors, directors or producers, more and more African-American blockbusters, such as Malcom X. SL's movies generally look like Hollywood standards productions which attests the idea of their integration into the American society, even if some of SL's movies also develop some very controversial aspects such as the Black nationalism in Malcom X The importance of MX in SL's life and career SL is probably the most famous Black film director. [...]
[...] Most of them thought that SP's cheesy movies weren't in any case helping the Black cause but, on the contrary, tranquilized the guilt-feelings of the White middle and upper class, by adopting and confirming its values An incarnation of the white ideal For the Black community, SP is the perfect and sublimated symbol of what the Black man must be, according to the liberal Whites's standards. He is what the Whites want him to be, that is to say socially, economically and culturally integrated, impeccable, unobtrusive, manageable, harmless, and almost whitened. [...]
[...] This is a new national order, the birth of a nation, as it is suggested by the sentence: Heroes are finally reunited in the defence of their fundamental Aryan rights”. This film actually fostered the rebirth of the KKK and probably strengthened the exclusion of the Black minority The birth of the Black cinema: a protest against Birth of a Nation” That's because they wanted to protest against this slanderous film which symbolizes the intolerance of the Whites that the Black community decided to answer back by shooting its own movies. [...]
[...] Some Black critics considered SL had taken no account of MX's social and political opinions because he was himself from the Black middle class, which MX used to despise The particularity of Spike Lee's cinema: a separatist trend However, SL's work is also very different from the other Black film directors. Thus most of them convey an optimistic and entertaining image of the Blacks' condition in the USA. Their films celebrate Hollywood values, such as the interracial harmony and happy endings. [...]
[...] SL preferred the classic Hollywood biography to a political and subversive film which doesn't rally match the rebellious personality of MX. Moreover, it seems that SL decided to depict MX as an extraordinary superhero, in the long tradition of Hollywood, almost as if MX was a saint. For example, many dark events in MX's youth, when he was a gangster, were obscured. The leader is shown as a prophet and a martyr, more like a religious icon than a human being. [...]
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