The early 1970s marked the emergence of blaxploitation films, and one director, the legendary Melvin Van Peebles, is credited with fueling the trend and bringing a new type of role for minorities to the big screen.
Actor and director Mario Van Peebles honors his father's accomplishments in Columbia Tri-Star's "Baadasssss!" (DVD $24.96).
The film chronicles the older Van Peebles's efforts to create and distribute his second film, "Sweet Sweetback" (1971), which is more appreciated for its pioneer status -- as one of the first films produced, written and directed by an African American -- than for its story.
The "Baadasssss!" DVD's bonus materials include an audio commentary with both directors, interviews with the cast and "The Birth of Black Cinema" feature.
The movie is filmed, in part, like a documentary. Actors offer commentary while portraying historical figures.
Post movie critic Ann Hornaday described the film as "far more accomplished artistically than the work that inspired it."
"Using reenactments, pseudo-documentary interviews with the cast and crew, and a fascinating technique of superimposing actual footage from 'Sweet Sweetback' onto his own movie, Mario does a terrific job of capturing the outlaw energy of the original production, which featured an impressively integrated crew," Hornaday wrote.
Nia Long, Ossie Davis, T.K. Carter and David Alan Grier co-star in the R-rated film, which won an Audience Award at the 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival.
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