Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

aka It Won’t Rub Off, Baby!

By awoodall
Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008 at 10:03 am in Uncategorized.

That’s the alter-ego title of the film Sweet Love, Bitter showing at the Pacific Film Archive Jan. 24 in Berkeley as part of the Cool World: Jazz and the Movies festival. Here’s what the curator has to say about the film: A recently retrieved gem from the sixties, Sweet Love, Bitter shadows the life of Charlie “Yardbird” Parker with radical black comedian Dick Gregory in the solo spot. Gregory’s character, Richie “Eagle” Stokes, is a saxophonist of misunderstood repute, a mind-blowing bebopper whose real love is in vein; we first meet him in a pawnshop, where he is swapping his sax for the next fix. But it’s not drugs that are his downfall, nor jazz, but racism, plain and simple, and all the humiliation and injustice it carries. Sweet Love, Bitter righteously plays the race card with a trio of beat buddies: Dave (Don Murray), a dropout professor who befriends the agonized Eagle; and Della (Diana Varsi), a white hipster in love with Keel (Robert Hooks), a black coffeehouse owner. With all his ability to blow off the beat, Eagle just can’t get in step with society. For this alto giant, there’s no place to go but the lower registers. Read more about the festival and the films scheduled on the PFA Web site.

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