Isaac Julien

  • Isaac Julien


    1 BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN (ANG LEE) A cowboy movie with a twist, Lee’s tour de force is even better than the short story it’s based on. Queer cinema has finally grown up and become a truly mainstream affair.

    2 DARWIN’S NIGHTMARE (HUBERT SAUPER) An anti-globalization documentary shot like a horror film set in an Africa where “cannibal” fish with enormous teeth are traded for guns on planes flown by Russians. Frantz Fanon would have loved this homage to the wretched of the earth.

    3 LAST DAYS (GUS VAN SANT) Art cinema and moving-image art came another step closer together with this fragmented

  • Baadasssss!

    MELVIN VAN PEEBLES’S now-legendary Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (which he wrote, directed, produced, and starred in) was the first film to show a black man kill a white man—two white cops, in fact—and get away with it. Rejected by the Hollywood system, it became required viewing for members of the Black Panther Party. But its appeal reached far beyond the radical fringe, as the box-office figures attest: Made independently on a shoestring budget of $150,000 in 1971, Sweet Sweetback grossed over $15 million in the United States, despite opening in only two theaters initially and, because of


    WHEN BELL HOOKS, THE DOYENNE OF BLACK CULTURAL STUDIES, writes in the essay that follows of her passionate relationship to writing, I think of my own struggles with the written word, which aren’t passionate at all. Filmmaking is my passion—except that filmmaking involves so much writing.

    I know bell as writer, as speaker, and as friend. Her essay on Looking for Langston in her book Black Looks was by far the best and clearest piece of critical writing about my film, and has endeared her to me ever since. Her critical assessment of my subsequent films has been equally both generous and tough. And