Friday, March 9, 2012

There are movies one might view that may not exactly scream out for an Oscar nod but hold up as completely good and enjoyable filmmaking. One such movie is Kathryn Bigelow's 1995 film "Strange Days" (written by James Cameron whom I like more and more everyday. Avatar anyone?).

The movie stars the beautiful and always classy Angela Bassett and the smoldering Ralph Fiennes who boasts a great head of hair and an intensity that matches the sleazy other worldliness of the film. "Strange Days" depicts a unique and realistic future where the clock is ticking toward the year 1999, and the world is eerily messed up. Still.

There are no flying cars, no presentations of  higher human function and power, no drastic technological advances--no technological advances in the beneficial, wholesome vein, anyway. We are introduced to a new drug of choice; a piece of deviant technology called a SQUID device that commits a person's experiences directly from their cerebral cortex to a disc that is sold to any willing customer that wishes to live and experience a different existence or relive a particular memory. Make sense?

People become strung out on the SQUID so to speak, addicted to the varied experiences of others or in Ralph Fiennes' character Leonard Nero's case, addicted to the nostalgia inducing memories of time with his ex-girlfriend Faith played by the ever magnetizing Juliette Lewis.

Alongside this flashy display of humanity's ever enduring propensity for addiction and debauchery  exists the story of the slaying of a popular black public figure by racist cops that leads to a cover-up that if exposed could disrupt the entire foundation of an already shaky social climate. Strange Days shows a future laced with many of the same defects as the time in which the film was created, and the film handles it all the gritty simplicity that characterized a lot of films of that period.

My series on black women kicking butt in good films in good roles treats the woman as an integral and amazing part of the whole. I want to display movies that Hollywood got right, a film where the director present a strong black female character that is human above all else and not a slave to, or caricature of their pigment.

Angela Bassett's character Mace was complex, she fought to shed light on the cover-up while she pined for a man whose brain was fried with memories of a woman that no longer wanted him or even  possessed the very qualities that promoted his longing. Mace was beautiful and confident amidst a cast of flawed, well drawn characters who helped tell a story about race in a stark and memorable way.

So watch Strange Days. See a black woman help make cinematic gold and kick ass both literally and figuratively.

And the soundtrack rocks. It has Skunk Anansie on it!!!

You know I'm about to give you the discography!

Strange Days Motion Picture Soundtrack (1995)

  1. Skunk Anansie – "Selling Jesus"
  2. Lords of Acid – "The Real Thing"
  3. Tricky – "Overcome"
  4. Deep Forest – "Coral Lounge"
  5. Strange Fruit – "No White Clouds"
  6. Juliette Lewis – "Hardly Wait"
  7. Me Phi Me/Jeriko One – "Here We Come"
  8. Skunk Anansie – "Feed"
  9. Prong/Ray Manzarek – "Strange Days"
  10. Satchel – "Walk In Freedom"
  11. Kate Gibson – "Dance Me to the End of Love"
  12. Lori Carson/Graeme Revell – "Fall in the Light"
  13. Deep Forest feat. Peter Gabriel – "While the Earth Sleeps"

Peacy Weacy!!

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