Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

Italian cinema and blaxploitation flicks

By awoodall
Thursday, November 12th, 2009 at 4:27 pm in Night Owl.

I think the theme of my life right now is escapism because I have had an undeniable urge to watch movies and plays. I don’t really care what they are about as long as they sound good.

Right now I am counting the days until the New Italian Cinema series starts in San Francisco. First in line is “Fortapasc,” a film about a district in Naples nicknamed “Fort Apache” by Marco Risi. The last in the week-long series is “Vincere,” a film about the tragic (and I am not being hyperbolic here) first wife of Dictator Benito Mussolini whom Fascists tried to erase from history.

I am a fan of his earlier film, Good Morning, Night.

Tonight is the screening of Aoki at 8 p.m. at the Grand Lake Theater. The documentary is about the life of Richard Aoki, a third-generation Japanese American who became – the press release says – a founding member of the Black Panthers. This I did not know.

But the flick getting the attention right now is Black Dynamite, a blaxploitation spoof  playing at the Grand Lake Theater midnight Nov. 21.

The film is actually more than a spoof or a tribute. The director spliced in shots from an original 1974 blaxploitation movie called Mean Mother, which itself contained footage from a Spanish-Italian crime thriller El Hombre Que Vino Del Odio. That movie’s director just worked in a “black action movie plot” to bring the two together.

The title of a short film coming up on Nov. 17 also caught my attention: “Half Life of a Network News Anchor.” Good title for getting journalists’ attention. Price is right: $5 at the EXIT Theatre on Taylor Street in San Francisco. The program includes other pithy titles such as Global Laundry, Felipe Does Dylan, The Shrine of Sheikh Nizam-ud-Din and, my second most favorite, Halloween with Condi Rice. I missed the company’s production of How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Lost My Virginity. But next year I will be sure to see The Most Notorious Woman and Lady of the ‘Loin.

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