SET IT OFF: LA HIP-HOP ON FILM at BAMcinématek
F. Gary Gray's Friday
BAMcinématek presents Set It Off: LA Hip-Hop on Film, Sep 4—8
Kicks off with a 20th anniversary screening of F. Gary Gray’s Friday
The Wall Street Journal is the title sponsor of BAM Rose Cinemas and BAMcinématek.
Brooklyn, NY/Aug 6, 2015—From Friday, September 4, through Tuesday, September 8, BAMcinématek presents Set It Off: LA Hip-Hop on Film, a seven-film tribute to the glory days of West Coast rap on the heels of the release of F. Gary Gray’s N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton. Hip-hop may have been born on the East Coast, but it was the West that dominated the early 90s with the emergence of gangsta rap, Death Row Records, and Tupac, Ice Cube, and Dr. Dre. From straight outta Compton to the top of the charts, these movies feature the music and artists that put the LA scene on the map.
Opening the series is F. Gary Gray’s debut feature Friday (1995—Sep 4; appropriately on a Friday), in which two friends (Ice Cube and Chris Tucker) go from smoking on the stoop to scrambling for cash when a drug dealer comes calling for his $200. Featuring a bevy of West Coast hip-hop from Dr. Dre, Cypress Hill, Mack 10, and Cube, who also produced and co-wrote the film, the soundtrack soared to the top of the charts and helped make Friday a stoner comedy classic, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
Gray’s follow-up Set It Off (1996—Sep 6) follows four down-on-their-luck women (played by Jada Pinkett, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox, and Kimberly Elise) who perform a series of Los Angeles bank robberies to better their families’ lives. Acclaimed for its mix of action and gritty realism, the film also sparked a double platinum soundtrack with Latifah, En Vogue, Busta Rhymes, Brandy, and more. Also screening are two films by John Singleton: the Oscar-nominated Boyz n the Hood (1991—Sep 5), a “brilliant directorial debut…and an American film of enormous importance” (Roger Ebert) chronicling three friends (Cuba Gooding Jr., Laurence Fishburne, and Ice Cube in his film debut) coming of age in South Central LA; and Poetic Justice (1993—Sep 7), starring Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur and boasting a soundtrack with Tupac, TLC, Babyface, and Usher.
Other highlights include Charles Burnett’s powerful indictment of racism in the LAPD, The Glass Shield (1994—Sep 8); Stephen Milburn Anderson’s “profoundly moving” (Variety) gang drama South Central (1992—Sep 7); and the first film by music video directors Allen and Albert Hughes, Menace II Society (1993—Sep 6), set to the sounds of Too Short, Spice 1, MC Eiht, and more.
Fri, Sep 4 2, 4:30, 7, 9:30pm: Friday
Sat, Sep 5 2, 4:30, 7, 9:30pm: Boyz n the Hood
Sun, Sep 6 2, 6:50pm: Set It Off 4:40, 9:40pm: Menace II Society
Mon, Sep 7 2, 6:45pm: Poetic Justice 4:30, 9:15pm: South Central
Tue, Sep 8 4:30, 7, 9:30pm: The Glass Shield
All films in 35mm unless otherwise noted.
Boyz n the Hood (1991) 112min Directed by John Singleton. With Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr., Laurence Fishburne.
The granddaddy of 90s life-in-the-hood sagas still packs a punch. It charts the diverging fates of three friends—including rapper Ice Cube making a big impression in his film debut—coming of age in the urban warzone of South Central LA. First-time filmmaker John Singleton earned Oscar nominations for directing and writing this explosive drama, which features music by Ice Cube, 2 Live Crew, and Run-D.M.C. DCP.
Sat, Sep 5 at 2, 4:30, 7, 9:30pm
Friday (1995) 91min Directed by F. Gary Gray. With Ice Cube, Chris Tucker, Nia Long.
Buddies Craig (Ice Cube) and Smokey (Chris Tucker) share a joint on a South Central porch, only to have their buzz harshed by the menacing drug dealer who wants his $200—or else. Ice Cube and DJ Pooh co-wrote this freewheeling, Cheech and Chong-in-the-hood-style stoner comedy classic, which boasts a soundtrack featuring Cube, Dr. Dre, Cypress Hill, 2 Live Crew, Bootsy Collins, and more.
Fri, Sep 4 at 2, 4:30, 7, 9:30pm
The Glass Shield (1994) 109min Directed by Charles Burnett. With Michael Boatman, Lori Petty, Ice Cube.
Charles Burnett’s powerful police drama follows an African-American rookie cop (Boatman) who confronts racism and corruption within the LAPD when a black man (Ice Cube) is framed for murder. After the critical successes of poetic works like Killer of Sheep and To Sleep with Anger, The Glass Shield finds Burnett tackling loaded political issues within the framework of a neo-noir thriller.
Tue, Sep 8 at 4:30, 7, 9:30pm
Menace II Society (1993) 97min Directed by Allen Hughes & Albert Hughes. With Tyrin Turner, Jada Pinkett, Larenz Tate.
This stunning, unflinching look at life in inner-city Watts follows a young hustler (Turner) trying to escape the cycle of gangs, drugs, and death that surrounds him. The first film from former music video directors the Hughes brothers explodes with bravura visual style, visceral violence, and a West Coast rap soundtrack. Look for Samuel L. Jackson in a chillingly cold-blooded cameo.
Sun, Sep 6 at 4:40, 9:40pm
Poetic Justice (1993) 109min Directed by John Singleton. With Janet Jackson, Tupac Shakur, Regina King.
The director of Boyz n the Hood crafts another South Central story, this time from a female perspective. Janet Jackson stars as a poet mourning the gang-related death of her boyfriend, who finds new love with a postal worker (Tupac) while on a road trip. More sensitive but no less socially-conscious than Boyz, Poetic Justice features the poetry of Maya Angelou on the soundtrack as well as music by Tupac, TLC, and Usher.
Mon, Sep 7 at 2, 6:45pm
Set It Off (1996) 123min Directed by F. Gary Gray. With Jada Pinkett, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox.
Four struggling women stick it to society by pulling a string of bank robberies in this female-powered heist thriller. The action sequences pack an impressive visceral jolt, but Friday director Gray adds a gritty layer
of social realism by delving into the circumstances that drive each woman to a life of crime. “Queen
Latifah gives a career-making performance” (Variety) as a brash carjacker.
Sun, Sep 6 at 2, 6:50pm
South Central (1992) 99min Directed by Stephen Milburn Anderson. With Glenn Plummer, Byron Minns, LaRita Shelby.
After emerging from a 10-year prison stint and converting to Islam, a father (Plummer) tries to rescue his son from a similar life of crime. Oliver Stone produced this hard-hitting drama, which takes a serious look at gang culture’s circle of violence. The hip-hop, R&B, and soul soundtrack features Scarface, Spectrum City (Chuck D’s pre-Public Enemy project), DJ Quik, and more.
Mon, Sep 7 at 4:30, 9:15pm