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J-Kitty's Review of Coonskin

rated it: posted: Apr 12, 2009
Reviews: 188 | World Class Animation Critic
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I had watched this film from Ralph Bakshi (Wizards, Hey Good Lookin'), one night ago on www.afrovideo.org, and I didn't see anything racial - I am not stupid. I do admit the character designs are a bit crude and unaccpectable today, but I think it's a satire and a very,very urban retelling of the old Uncle Remus stories that the Black American culture, created right down to the main characters and the blatant nod to "The Tar Baby" and "The Briar Patch." These aren't bigoted stories, mind you, but cultural icons created by Black Americans, and me being a white woman read and love those stories. And I also found it an interesting time-capsule view on the black culture in Harlem, New York in the 70's.

Well to get to the nitty-gritty of this film: This film is a live-action/animated film, which begins in live-action with a fellow named Sampson and the Preacherman rush to help their friend, Randy escape from prison, but are stopped by a roadblock and wind up in a shootout with the police. While waiting for them, Randy unwillingly listens to fellow escapee Pappy, as he begins to tell Randy the animated story of Brother Rabbit, a young newcomer to the big city who quickly rises from obscurity to rule over all of Harlem. You know, to me Rabbit,Bear and Fox are animal versions of Randy,Sampson and the Preacherman. An abstract juxtaposition of stylized animation and live action footage, the film is a graphic and condemnatory satire of stereotypes prevalent in the 70s racial, ethnic, and otherwise.

So anyway, it is another good Bakshi movie. And should we sweep films like this under the rug? pretend they never exist? I think that would be a shame. I think we should watch these films entacted, and learn about what goes on back then, just how far we come since then.

animated movie Coonskin © Paramount Pictures
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Coonskin
3.63 stars / 4 ratings
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