Black Exploitation in Film.

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Representation in Shaft Introduction This essay will look at two main points on representation, in a pre-determined ten-minute clip of Shaft, firstly cultural representation which in this case is focused on the emergence of the Blaxploitation (Black-exploitation) genre. Then the representation of women and how their gender status affects the film’s narrative, and characters and how the film portrayed both points. 1971 found the emergence of successful Afro-American film producers such as Gordon Parks (1912-2006) with Shaft (1971) and Melvin Van Peebles with his earlier release of Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971), between them ushering the start of a new film genre, Blaxploitation. With Shaft being “amongst the twenty…show more content…
But this in itself is simply semiotics, as black women in the 1970s were very empowered themselves unlike the archetypical white American female, who was still considered to still have the role of being acquiescent in contrast. Contrasting women and their roles in the film’s narrative. Both women in the film are still portrayed in a passive light, though both have empowering connotations. The waitress with her inadvertent pacification of Shaft and the Mafioso, though there is a possibility to see it that she is not being nonchalant, but rather superior to Shaft purely on skin colour and only bothering to respond with any energy after she is left a tip. Then there is the hostage having enough inherent cultural hold on Shaft for him to risk his life, if this was the case it would only make it as farcical as everything that the film was trying not to be. Although it would not have been any different if it been an archetypical Hollywood production, with a predominately white leading cast and gallant, melodramatic music instead of funk or soul in its place. Which of was one of the criteria’s that made Blaxploitation movies, with Shaft being one of the films that “cemented the use of funky music in blaxploitation films” (Lawrence N (2008) Blaxploitation Films of the 1970s: Blackness and Genre, p.55). Cultural analysis aside, neither of the female characters in the clip had any direct influence in the film, although it could be seen as more circumlocutory, as
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