Critics and audiences alike have gotten behind Mario Van Peebles' candid portrait of his father Melvin's struggle as a young, black director during the society-shifting early '70s. Determined to make a film that matters, Melvin (played by son Mario) deals with two-faced backers, a rag tag crew, threatening creditors and various shades of Hollywood hypocrisy. Obsessed and with everything on the line, including his failing eyesight and family, his only choice is to stick to his guns and do whatever it takes to get his neo-blaxploitation epic Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song to the audience for which it was envisioned. The real-life father and son dynamic brings an intimacy to this inspiring and often hilarious tribute to the father of black cinema. The result is a seamless layering of entertaining drama and poignant documentary that mirrors itself from every angle and never loses its edge.
Won: Best Feature Film, 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival
Nominated: Best Feature, Best Director, Best Screenplay, 2005 Independent Spirit Awards
The son bears witness to his father's struggle and turns it into heroic legend. -- J. Hoberman, THE VILLAGE VOICE