Director Gordon Parks, English, USA, 1971, 100 min, 15
Considered one of the first Blaxploitation films, starring Richard Rowntree as private detective John Shaft. Shaft is hired by a Harlem crime lord rescue his daughter from the Italian mobsters who kidnapped her.
To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the invention of the Blaxploitation genre, 2021’s film series for Black History Month will showcase a groundbreaking film each Wednesday throughout October. Influenced by the Black Power Movement, films of the Blaxploitation era were amongst the first where Black characters are centralised within narratives as heroes alongside soundtracks set to funk and soul music. Although not without their controversies, their impact has endured.