The mission of The Department of Afro-American Research Arts and Culture to identify the global significance of the creative contributions pioneered by an international diaspora of Blackness
Search DAARAC's Archive
Showing posts with label 1980s. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1980s. Show all posts

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Tap (1989)

"Tap" (1989) is a drama film written and directed by Nick Castle and stars Gregory Hines, Sammy Davis Jr., Suzzanne Douglas, and Joe Morton. As the title suggests, the movie is mostly about tap dancing with a story of redemption. After the 1940s, there were few films about the tap dancing art form that once dominated American entertainment. In particular, tap dancing was a huge part of black entertainment culture during the 1920s, 30s, and 40s.

"Tap" introduced a younger generation to the dance style, so the film includes a mixture of performers from old to new. The legendary tap dancers in the movie were Sammy Davis Jr., Howard 'Sandman' Sims, Bunny Briggs, Steve Condos, Jimmy Slyde, Arthur Duncan, and Harold Nicholas. In addition, Savion Glover starred in the movie as a 14-year-old boy learning from the legends. At the time, Glover was starring on Broadway as a performer. Finally, Gregory Hines connects all the generations in the movie. Suzzanne Douglas performs alongside Hines, displaying her gracefulness as a singer and dancer. 

This film has become a historical artifact because this was the last time an ensemble of legendary tap dancers was in a movie together. The cinematography is excellent, and the music is fantastic. The story is also engaging because actors like Joe Morton and Dick Anthony Williams appear. If you're looking for quality entertainment, I recommend "Tap" for viewing.

Director: Nick Castle
Writer: Nick Castle

Starring Gregory Hines, Suzzanne Douglas, Sammy Davis Jr., Joe Morton, Dick Anthony Williams, Savion Glover, Howard 'Sandman' Sims, Bunny Briggs, Steve Condos, Jimmy Slyde, Arthur Duncan, Pat Rico, and Harold Nicholas

Max Washington (Gregory Hines), an ex-con just released from jail, is a veteran burglar and a talented tap dancer. Reuniting with his girlfriend, Amy (Suzzanne Douglas), Max is approached by her father, Little Mo (Sammy Davis Jr.), about a new dance production. Max's criminal past, in the form of his old buddy, Nicky (Joe Morton), also comes knocking, and he must decide between embracing dance and lapsing into his delinquent ways.

Monday, June 5, 2023

The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980)

"The Gods Must Be Crazy" (1980, released in 1984 in the United States) is an adventure comedy film set in Southern Africa, primarily in South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia. Jami Uys was responsible for writing, directing, and producing the movie.

This film is one of the most clever movies I have ever seen. Filmed like a National Geographic documentary, the movie follows Xi (played by N!xau), a Kalahari Desert bushman with no connection to modern-day society. In addition, the narrator paints a great picture of the people and their daily lives and the contrast of perspective lifestyles of people from the city. A pilot throws a Coke bottle from the airplane, and Xi discovers it. Unfamiliar with such an object, he returns it to his tribe, where they use it until it begins to cause trouble among the tribe's people. From here, Xi decides to get rid of the bottle by tossing it off the edge of the earth. What happens next is a series of paths and events that leads Xi, a school teacher, a microbiologist, and a terrorist group to connect.

This movie has many layers, so addressing some would only be possible. But, interestingly, you don't know how to take it when you first see it. And then the comedy subtly comes in small and clever dosages. There are some geopolitical aspects to this film that I am ignorant about, especially cultural characteristics. However, the film is still enjoyable and offers much more than a regular comedy. I highly recommend this movie for viewing.

Director: Jami Uys
Writer: Jami Uys

Starring N!xau, Marius Weyers, Sandra Prinsloo, Louw Verwey, Michael Thys, Nic de Jager, Brian O'Shaughnessy, Ken Gampu, Paddy O'Byrne

The tribal people in a remote African desert live a happy life, but it is all torn to pieces when a Coca-Cola bottle falls from a plane. With the villagers fighting over the strange foreign object, tribal leader Xi (N!xau) decides to return the bottle to the gods to restore peace. However, his journey to the "end of the world" eventually has him crossing paths with a bumbling scientist (Marius Weyers) and a band of guerrillas who take a schoolteacher (Sandra Prinsloo) and her class hostage.