The essence of the current cultural discourse is that everything we watch is at least latently political. And we, the people, are hungry for political art. This recurring column, The Politics of American Movies, will explore everything from racially progressive Westerns and anti-fascist comedies to documentaries about the working class and popcorn flicks with subversive bite.
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On ‘Blue Collar,’ the Richard Pryor Classic About Race and the Working Class
In Paul Schrader’s unheralded gem, Pryor and Harvey Keitel play Detroit autoworkers who rob their own union in a plan that epitomizes the toil of the working man
Sofia Coppola’s 2006 film ‘Marie Antoinette’ was thought to be an anachronistic, apolitical look at the life and death of the infamous French queen. In fact, it was the movie’s study of style and privilege that made it a political statement.
Love in the Time of Nuclear War
The year was 1988, a high point in American history for both nuclear fear and modern romance at the movies. In ‘Miracle Mile,’ romance collides with the apocalypse, setting the middle-class idealism of the Reagan era against its sense of chaos for a uniquely hopeful kind of disaster film.
To Live and Die in L.A.
Twenty-five years after riots overtook Los Angeles, there are a slew of new documentaries that attempt to explain the events of that fateful week. But in addition to cold facts, it’s important to look at films from the early ’90s like ‘Menace II Society’ and ‘Boyz n the Hood’ to understand the mood and context that begat the violence.