CTHE Press Release: BAADASSSSS!

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ronald Epstein, Jul 13, 2004.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    "An energetic and smart crowd pleaser!" *- Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times

    "A fascinating ride ... combined with raw filmmaking! *Mind-blowing!" *- Allison Samuels, Newsweek

    The Birth of Black Cinema is Sharply Observed in
    Actor/Writer/Director Mario Van Peebles' Moving Biopic
    Based on his Father Melvin's Best-Selling Autobiographical Book

    ***************************
    BAADASSSSS!
    ***************************
    Co-Starring Ossie Davis, David Alan Grier, Nia Long & Joy Bryant
    Available on DVD and VHS September 14

    * * * * Culver City, CA (June 12, 2004) - A father. *A son. *A revolution. *Back in the early
    1970s, groundbreaking filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles made history by kick-starting the urban
    and blaxploitation film movements. *More than 30 years later, Melvin's son, Mario Van Peebles
    (Ali), directs a revealing portrait of his pioneering father. *Following in his dad's footsteps, and
    documenting his exceptional journey towards political defiance through cinema, Mario directs
    and stars as Melvin in the inspirational biopic BAADASSSSS!,

    Winner of the Best Picture and Audience Award at the Philadelphia International Film
    Festival along with being honored as an Official Selection at the Sundance, Toronto and Berlin
    Film Festivals, BAADASSSSS! will premiere on DVD and VHS (rental) on September 14 from
    Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment and Sony Picture Classics. *Co-starring David Alan Grier
    (Streamers), Joy Bryant (Antwone Fisher), Nia Long (Soul Food), Paul Rodriguez (Bloodwork)
    and Ossie Davis (City of Angels), BAADASSSSS! is a critically-acclaimed look at the birth of
    black cinema, based on Melvin's best selling book "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song." *

    Synopsis:
    After the success of his debut feature The Story of a Three-Day Pass, Melvin Van
    Peebles was determined to push the Hollywood boundaries with the even more controversial,
    Sweet Sweetback's Baadassss Song. *Turned down by every major studio, Melvin was forced to
    self-finance. *Melvin ducked creditors, the unions and had to bail out his camera crew after they
    were arrested because a white cop decided a "bunch of Negroes and hippies couldn't home come
    by that camera equipment honestly." *Risking everything he had, including death threats and
    temporarily losing sight in one eye, Melvin managed to whip into shape a rag-tag, multi-racial
    crew and finish the film. *Despite the fact that initially two theatres in the whole United States
    would play his film, Sweetback eventually became the top grossing independent hit of 1971,
    spawning a decade of similar studio projects.
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    DVD SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE:
    * * * * Audio commentary with Mario and Melvin Van Peebles
    * * * * American Cinematheque Q&A Feature with Melvin Van Peebles (filmed at the Egyptian Theatre)
    * * * * "The Premiere" featurette - interviews with the cast and crew at the Hollywood premiere
    * * * * "The Birth of Black Cinema" Making-of Featurette
    * * * * Poster Explorations
    * * * * Digitally Mastered Audio & Anamorphic Video
    * * * * Remastered in High Definition
    * * * * Widescreen Presentation
    * * * * Audio: *English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
    * * * * Subtitles: *French, Spanish, Portuguese
    * * * * Previews
    * * * * Scene Selections

    Rated R
    Color
    Closed Captioned
    Running Time: 109 Minutes
    DVD Catalog # 04368 / UPC Code: 0-43396-04368-8
    VHS Catalog # 04347 / UPC Code: 0-43396-04347-3
    VHS Spanish Subtitles Catalog # 04630 / UPC Code: 0-43396-04630-6
    DVD Order Date: 08/12/04
    VHS Order Date: *08/24/04
    SLP: $24.96 DVD; VHS rental priced
     
  2. Drew Reiber

    Drew Reiber Supporting Actor

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    I just caught Baadasssss! at my local independent theater. I thought it was an excellent film, very deserved of it's relationship to the landmark that was Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song. The bond between Melvin and his son during the making of Sweetback was even more apparent because Mario's attention to recreating the production. It was strange because I totally bought into his portrayal of his father, though I grew up with Mario's work as an actor.

    Melvin is truly as unique a personality as his films and his passion really comes through in the story. This movie has made me more interested than ever in seeeing the rest of his body of work (Three Day Pass, etc). I'll definitely pick up the DVD when it's available, especially since my wish of a Melvin commentary has been granted.
     
  3. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    This is probably my favorite film of the year so far. It didn't get the distribution it deserved. Melvin Van Peebles effectively invented what we now call "independent cinema", and it's a travesty that he isn't even mentioned in either the film or the book version of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls -- he's been just as influential as any of the players in that saga of 70s movie-making. Baadasssss! not only remedies the injustice by showing just what a revolutionary he was, but it's also a cracking entertainment and Mario Van Peebles' best work as a director. For anyone wondering whether this is worth a blind buy, my answer is an unequivocal "yes".

    M.
     
  4. Drew Reiber

    Drew Reiber Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, that's been bothering me a lot too. It was bad enough that the people who produced Shaft have taken most of the mainstream credit for the groundwork laid out by Sweetback, but on top of that no one even seems to remember the film at all. Unfortunately, a lot of the books I read before seeing it just repeated what others who hadn't see it were saying. "Not exactly known for technique, but was a precursor to the phenomenon for Shaft."

    And I then I saw the movie and I was like, "WHAT?!?!" Sweetback is so technique driven that I couldn't even believe what I was seeing, much less keep up. It was just as experimental or even more so than the early works of Godard and even managed to play with the fourth wall in ways that you wouldn't necessarily pick up. The subject matter and taboos broken ALONE must have been blowing people's minds, so anyone who were into the film at the time just for it's social/political message must have felt like they were on a roller coast ride.

    How any so-called film historians or authors could even dare to brush Sweetback aside is shocking and insulting. I hope that the entertainment and quality of Baadasssss! will finally bring some much needed attention and appreciation to Melvin's work among modern film fans.
     
  5. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Sweetback can be hard to sit through for a contemporary audience, but then so can Easy Rider. But even leaving aside the technical issue, the machinations that Melvin VP undertook just to get the film made are pretty amazing and a big part of what makes Baadasssss! a great drama.

    Since the 90s, we've heard all these stories about aspiring filmmakers maxing out their credit cards and doing strange things like submitting themselves to medical research (as Robert Rodriguez did) just to raise money to make a film. Melvin Van Peebles did much more out-of-the-box maneuvering -- and he did it after turning down a 3-picture deal with Columbia! Here was a guy so determined to make his movie his way that he didn't care what feathers he ruffled, what feelings he hurt (including his own son's), or what rules he broke (telling everyone that the film was porn so that the unions would leave him alone was a masterstroke). One of the many great things about Baadasssss! is how it admires Melvin's take-no-prisoners determination, but doesn't blink at portraying the human cost and the wreckage that Melvin left in his wake.

    M.
     
  6. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Yesterday, I just watched Melvin Van Peebles' Classified X on the True Stories channel. It was interesting to say the least to see and hear his views on racism in film.

    If anybody is interested in seeing Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song then Black Starz is showing it on July 16th at 11:20 p.m. ET.






    Crawdaddy
     

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