GORDON PARKS | USA | 1971 | 100 MIN | R | ENGLISH | 35MM
With an opening set to the cooler than cool Academy Award winning music of Isaac Hayes, the emergence of Richard Roundtree’s SHAFT from the New York City subway of the 70s is one of the most emblematic moments in cinema. John Shaft’s impenetrable swagger, and sharp leather jacket, can’t be hindered by badgering cops or even a suspicious tale as he walks the streets of a now unrecognizable downtown NYC. But when a dead man linked to Harlem’s crime boss Bumpy Jonas (Moses Gunn) ends up out a window, Shaft finds himself working with the notorious black don to thwart a kidnapping. Director Gordon Parks uses the tried and true film noir framework and injects it with a commanding, unforgettable character and community that helped pave the way for change in the Hollywood system and encourage passionate discourse. SHAFT ushered in a new style, voice, and representation for a theatrical wide release that spoke to an entire disillusioned generation fed up with the man and seeking empowered pride, love, and independence. You dig?
Cast: Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Charles Cioffi, Christopher St. John
Part of the Philadelphia Film Society’s FILM ESSENTIALS series.
Cinema’s greatest treasures as they were meant to be seen: on vivid 35mm and on the biggest screen in Center City!
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