Blaxploitation is problematic. Although many films from the genre were written and directed by African Americans, the movies tend to play up stereotypes and play down real problems. Shaft may have become a cultural touchstone, but it also paved the way for films that put the emphasis on the "exploitation" part of the genre's portmanteau. The NAACP, the Urban League and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference decried Blaxploitation, and a new generation of African-American filmmakers refused to continue the harmful, stereotype-laden tradition. "Beyond Blaxploitation," two weeks of programming presented by the Webster Film Series, features a workshop and several excellent movies — including tonight's screening of Boyz n the Hood. John Singleton's 1991 film explores issues of violence and racism without a drop of condescension or melodrama. Boyz n the Hood is shown at 7 p.m. in Webster University's Moore Auditorium (470 East Lockwood Avenue). Tickets are $5 to $6; for more information about the "Beyond Blaxploitation" series, visit www.webster.edu/filmseries or call 314-968-7487.
Sun., Jan. 6, 2008