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Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971) Case Study

Rob Miller | Monday September 22, 2014

Categories: A Level, EDUQAS A Level, EDUQAS A2, FM4, Section C: Single Film Critical Study, Analysis, Film Analysis, Film Industry, Censorship & Regulation, Film Distribution, Film Marketing, Film Publicity, Films & Case Studies, Non-Hollywood Films, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, Genres & Case Studies, Crime, Drama, Independent, Thriller, Hot Entries, Key Concepts, Representation

FM4: Varieties of Film Experience – Issues and Debates Section C: Single Film – Critical Study

Section C of FM4 offers students the ability to engage in a critical study of a single film, within a synoptic framework – this means the micro and the macro features need to be studied, as well as issues of representation. Useful will be placing the film in an institutional and cultural context in reference to production, funding distribution, audience, audience reception but also genre and narrative. WJEC do provide, on request a short Reader on each film with a number of photocopied articles and recommendations of resources posted annually on the WJEC website after the summer exams – students need to know the film ‘inside and out’ and be aware of the range of debates and controversies surrounding it. See below examples of past questions (the first two are specific to the film):

  1. ‘Set in the early 1970s, Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song is actually a film about the black man in American history.’ Discuss the film in relation to this statement.
  2. What is the importance of movement and soundtrack in Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song?
  3. What does your chosen film reveal about the usefulness of one or more critical approaches you have applied?
  4. Consider debates that have arisen in the critical reception of your chosen film, either at the time of its initial release or now or both.
  5. How useful have you found a particular film critical approach, such as an auteur or genre approach, in gaining a deeper understanding and appreciation of your chosen film?
  6. With reference to critical and review writing you have considered as part of your study, discuss how your ideas on your chosen film have developed.

There are key areas of study that WJEC recommend are explored for FM4 Section C – Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, and they are as follows:

  • The politics of the film

  • The representation of black masculinity

  • The film as...

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