Skip to main content

SUPERFLY

USA, 1972 (MIFF 1998, Funky! Freaky! Foxy! - Blaxploitation Cinema)

Director: Gordon Parks Jr.

Gordon Parks Jr removes the smoothness from Shaft and reshapes it into diamond strength hardness in Superfly. Shot with pimp-funding, a largely black crew and with the illegal use of street pole electricity, Superfly is the success story of renegade Blaxploitation filmmaking. The definitive precursor to Gangsta Rap's ambiguous glorification of drug power. Curtis Mayfield's Greek chorus style song-score drives the film's message home: drugs are all around and nothing can stop them except your own will. The social repositioned in the individual. Superfly Ron O'Neal realises this. A coked-up black Christ with chest fur and pointed sideburns, he plays the Game and wins. Sets up a big score to enable him to retire in luxury. The real black street dream: get in... then get out. Everything he does is Super. Another black ego out of control, but a solid depiction of black aspiration and cunning. (Ron O'Neal's ego really gets out of control in the sequel Superfly TNT) Pusherman was a No.1 hit in 1972. When Ice-T covered it for I'm Your Pusher in 1988, it was banned on US radio because Ice-T said the word 'Nigga'. Times change. Dumbness don't. - Philip Brophy

See also...

THREE THE HARD WAY

Three cities: LA, Washington and Detroit. Cesspools of the 70s urban black. A pseudo-Nazi plan will cleanse these American citadels of the Negroid gene. Their water supplies will be injected with a ... More »

SHAFT

Times Square. The Sony logo. Marquees: He and She, The Animal, School for Sex, The Wild Females. 1971. Welcome to New York City in 35mm winter. Turf of John Shaft - or that smooth-skinned ... More »

FOXY BROWN

"Superbad. Dig it. The lady is Superbad." Willie Hutch's theme song says it all - with drum machines, even. Pam Grier is Foxy Brown and all that. A sassy woman whose performances have defined the ... More »

SUGAR HILL

Smooth, sexy, sweet. Afrodesiac style oozes in every frame. Costume and production design are flagrantly fetishised. Shots usually start with a close-up on clothes, shoes, hats. Marki Bey is Sugar ... More »

CLEOPATRA JONES

The most camp of all Blaxploitation flicks. 70s in style - 60s in tone. Hollywood's typical decade-lag makes this a stew of funky fun. Everyone tries to be real mean - especially Tamara Dobson, a 6 ... More »

THE MACK

Never has a film lionised the sex industry to such an extent. And despite its down tone, it's deadly serious. Max Julien - not exactly a good-lookin' dude - struts around embarrassingly in definitive ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director