TABLE OF CONTENTS

film

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

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the Summer 1993 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.