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Leimert Park Peoples Street | Free Outdoor Screening!
Bring your own chair or blanket! 7:00pm Doors, 8:00pm Screening by American Cinematheque
10:00pm dance party hosted by community partners
In collaboration with community partners and local vendors, we invite you to this special screening and dance party. Part of ‘Perpetratin Realism: 1990s Black Film’ Series
Tickets are no longer on sale for this event.
Home / Now Showing / HOUSE PARTY
HOUSE PARTY is Reginald Hudlin’s feature film debut and showcases the musical and acting chops of the real-life recording duo, Kid n Play. Kid (Christopher Reid) plays a highschool student just tryin’ to get to a house party. First, he has to evade his bullies (played by Full Force), and then escape his Pop’s grounding (the late Robin Harris). By the time Kid gets to the party, Play and Bilal (Martin Lawrence) have already set up the soundsystem and gotten a headstart on rapping to the girls. Relentlessly pursued by the police, Kid is unwavering in his quest for a girlfriend and his first kiss. HOUSE PARTY has all the plot devices of a Black “New Realism” film of the time, but it deploys them in a playful way that enables a whole new cinematic experience.
HOUSE PARTY features the most popular comedic actress of the 1990s Tisha Campbell as Sydney, as well as an appearance by the late great John Witherspoon. With a cameo from the legendary musical artist and visionary George Clinton, audiences are treated to a full spectrum of Black creative talent in a period of cultural transformation. With fluid hip hop visuals, a Marcus Miller score, and popular tunes like Luther Vandross’s “House Party,” the film re-mixes the formulaic hallmarks of the teenpic (adolescent angst, parental surveillance, and raging hormones) with the critical rhythms of early hip hop and rap. The result is an energetic and exuberant film that departs from the familiar cinematic associations of Blackness and Black youth—the projects, the cops, and teen pregnancy. These Black suburban teenagers are just trying to navigate the tasks of sneaking out and going to a party.
Reginald Hudlins’s directorial debut (produced by Warrington Hudlin) was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and would land as the third top grossing film the weekend of its release in 1990. HOUSE PARTY appears on the heels of Spike Lee’s SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT and SCHOOL DAZE and arriving just before the popular cycle of coming of age, gangsta, and hood films that defined the 90s. Like many films in the Perpetratin’ Realism series, HOUSE PARTY challenges popular, “real” representations of Black youth, community, and black fathers and father- son relationships. Unlike Lee’s films, which dealt with Black female sexuality and HBCU fraternity life from an insider view, HOUSE PARTY takes on what was the then Black popular familiar by inserting Black youth into the rash of teen comedies previously occupied by white, middle class teens in the late 1980s and 1990s. HOUSE PARTY stands out as a comedic teenpic with social messages that entertains with nonstop fun while foregrounding a model of the Black community that defies common stereotypes and gives kids the tools to navigate the anti-Black world around them.
DISTRIBUTOR: New Line Cinema
In the early 1990s, a new wave of Black filmmakers drew audiences from around the world with their bold exploration of Black rage and desire. These films – dubbed by scholar / critic Manthia Diawara “new Black realism” – featured dynamic portrayals of Black people grappling with the hierarchies of power and the living legacies of white racism, gun violence, and illicit economies. From NEW JACK CITY to BOYZ N THE HOOD, these films were popular and profitable – attracting Black audiences to movie theatres…and sparking panic amongst white neighborhoods and business owners. These same Black audiences became the target of police surveillance and repression.
Despite their mixed critical reception, these films reimagined genre filmmaking (from coming-of-age dramas to heist thrillers and buddy comedies) by exposing the failed promises of racial progress and national inclusion. These stories of Black life, love, and friendship navigated complex and often contradictory representations of Black people – in news media, reality television, sitcoms, music, and fashion. This media landscape collapsed the distance between the image and the real – but Black filmmakers forced open and played in that space.
Perpetratin’ Realism reflects on Black visual culture and actual Black lives from this very same space.
– Dr. Felice Blake, Dr. Keith Harris, Dr. Roya Rastegar
This program was made possible by a generous grant from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association
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