PRINT Summer 1993


Menace II Society

IT IS ONLY WITH DIFFICULTY that I tolerate the mediocrity of most contemporary black cinema, a trick I manage by constantly reminding myself that mediocrity is a necessary stage in the development of a mature practice. What I’m unable to tolerate is the delusional critical assessment of these films. Simply put, the so-called New Black Film Renaissance is as clear a case of the Emperor’s new clothes as I How can think of. With a handful of exceptions, these films are barely worth discussing in anything but the most base sociological or, worse, commercial terms. The incapacity, really the unwillingness, to address their general incompetence is patronizing at best. At worst, it actively delays the real work needed to develop black cinema.

The Hughes Brothers’ Menace II Society provided the kind of movie experience I’ve seldom had since childhood, intense experiences that had as much to do with

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