21 October 2011

"A Spike Lee Joint" ~Bamboozled~

Bamboozled was "A Spike Lee Joint" made in the year 2000. It follows the success and death of a black and head television producer and writer named Pierre Delacroix. Pierre is pressured by his white boss, who claims to be black because he grew up in a black neighborhood and has a black wife. He is demanded to either boost the networks pitiful ratings through a highly controversial new show, or lose his job. Pierre, to prove a ferociously racist show is not the answer, concocted a new millennium "blackface" minstrel show. However, this show surprisingly becomes very successful and did substantially boost ratings. Conclusively, Bamboozled was edited with a continuity style that was seemingly unique, but essentially typical.

To better understand, continuity editing, as described in film textbook The Film Experience, is a type of editing which, "uses cuts and other transitions to establish verisimilitude, to construct a coherent time and space, and to tell stories clearly and efficiently." It also, "utilizes a broad array of technical choices that support the principle of effacing technique in order to emphasized human agency and narrative clarity." In other words, continuity editing, hides the craft and cuts in a film, which enables the audience to relax, while passively engaging them and emotionally evoking and provoking them. This style asks for and facilitates suspense, while taking the audience member to the "big moments." It frequently incorporates, not Russian montage, but instead American Montage to help enhance, ellipse, piece together, or complete the film by adding a quick and sometimes overlapping sequence of clips or shots.

Specifically, Bamboozled's closing scene can be used as evidence of this continuity style and American montage. The scene began when Pierre was shot by his angered assistant Sloan Hopkins, played by Jada Pinkett-Smith. As he lay there, an over head shot was taken of him, which cuts to his left side portrait, which then finally cut to and gradually zooms into a close up of his "blackfaced" face with a single streaming tear. This scene was then proceeded by a American montage of 19th and 20th century clips that promoted "blackface," minstrel shows, and black stereo types.

Watching the ending scene makes it easy to forget that there are indeed cuts being made. With a bleeding gunshot wound simultaneously occurring, it is easy to focus on the films verisimilitude, or quality of having the appearance of truth.
The realization and emotions of what Pierre will do next and, "what will happen to Sloan if or once she is found out as the murdered?,"engulfs ones mind, only aiding one to forget that it is just a fictional movie. The scene's American montage sequence (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C45g3YP7JOk) serves as a great purpose in this film, which was to show how far blacks have come from scenes as obedient, ugly, inferior, porch monkeys.

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