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From Gangsta to Gangster'the Hood Film's Criminal Allegiance with Hollywood.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

Published

Publication date2007
Host publicationThe New Film History: Approaches, Methods, Sources
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages166
ISBN (Print)0230001696
Original languageEnglish

Bibliographic note

This publication is developed from a presentation to the Institute of Historical Research's (University of London) Film History seminar, contributing to a significant work that makes claims for and gathers together key examples of recent scholarship best described as 'The New Film History''scholarship based on the principle of empirical investigation and inquiry that calls into question the limits of axioms that organize the field of film studies more generally. When it comes to the analysis and critical appropriation of films made by African Americans, the terms 'film' and 'race' become complicit in a debilitating affirmation of ontological blackness. In an examination of a cycle of popular but notorious 'hood' or gangsta films made by black filmmakers of the early 1990s, this chapter reviews how both the conditions of production and reception (including scholarly) have shaped a misplaced desire for an authentic African American aesthetic. These films have been criticised for their failure to break new ground for black representation on white screens'a criticism that folds issues of aesthetic independence into ideals about the advancement of the race. Against the grain of this tendency, the chapter evaluates the way these films productively rework generic tropes associated with gangster culture more generally'and in the process invite us to situate these films in relationship not just to earlier black and white urban crime film cycles and contemporary Hollywood but to other cultural forms and practices, especially the music industry. The 'hood film', it is contended, transforms the gangster film in a manner relevant to the social mores of African American communities in the 1990s'and in doing so this cycle begs questions of the adequacy of critique grounded in ahistorical and idealist notions of both film and race. RAE_import_type : Chapter in book RAE_uoa_type : LICA