Wednesday, February 2, 2011


WTF?!?! A movie about the IRA for black history month??? I know, i know, it sounds a little strange, but keep reading...
Needless to say, this is an odd pick, but if we're talking about black history in film, this movie has to be mentioned. Lets just put aside the fact that 'Hunger'; a biography about IRA member Bobby Sands and his famous hunger strike in prison, is a GREAT film. And lets also put aside the fact that Michael Fassbender's dedicated performance (and weight loss for the role) is not only one to put Christian Bale in 'The Machinist' to shame, but its one of the must underrated performance of the last few years. We're not going to focus on that stuff. We're going to focus on the making of the movie. The man behind the camera. This recent hit at Cannes, made history not once, but TWICE. 'Hunger', directed by Black filmmaker; Steve McQueen (no, not "Bullit" Steve McQueen) won the "Camera D'or" award at Cannes, which is basically the equivalent for best first feature. Spike Lee never even pulled that off, and there was a time when Europeans (especially the ones at Cannes) LOVED him. On top of that, the movie itself, taking advantage of the flexibility of digital film making, featured the longest unbroken single shot in a mainstream film (17 minutes long). So, not only did Steve McQueen become the first black filmmaker to win best first feature at Cannes, but he also set a record for longest unbroken shot in a "mainstream" film.
Usually directors with a background in either photography (like Steve McQueen) or music videos who make their directorial debut, usually fall victim to putting more emphasis on the style and atmosphere of the film, and less on the actual story and the performances. Steve McQueen got right on his first try. And whats great is that his next film is a biography on Fela Kuti (there, are all you guys questioning as to why i would mention a film about the IRA during black history month happy now?!?! He's doing a movie about Fela Kuti next, so shut up). My only fear about this biopic is that i cant think of a single actor who's able to pull of a performance of such a unique figure.
I imagine not too many black people (especially African Americans) are aware of Steve Mcqueen and his accomplishments, because they're either too busy pretending that Tyler Perry is the only relevant name within the world of black film. Lets not forget about how the so-called black film community pretty much ignored Mariannae Jean Baptise's ACADEMY AWARD nominated performance in Mike Leigh's 'Naked'. In fact, here's some more black history for you: Marianne Jean Baptise became the only black actress to be nominated for an academy award, but not nominated for an image award (which is essentially an awards show that supposedly honors excellence in film among black people). Its ironic how black people are the first to complain about not being recognized for all these movie award ceremonies, then they turn around and totally ignore great black performances and achievements in film making themselves. Anything outside of their comfort zone of Madea, Martin Lawrence or movies about backyard family bar-b-cues never seem to register.


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