Beloved-by-some dreadlocked former New York Times critic Elvis Mitchell, who dramatically exited the print world for a development position at Columbia Pictures, pops up over at the Observer to touch on race and film. He writes about "Ray," "Crash" and "The Fantastic Four," and notes
There’s certainly nothing to argue there, but we have to take issue with John Patterson‘s accompanying piece in the Guardian on how white people shouldn’t be allowed to make films about race in L.A. anymore. Shut up, John Patterson. Well, we can’t actually think of a good film about race in L.A. at all at the moment, but just because there’s been a particularly sanctimonious spate lately, what with the aforementioned "Crash" and "Spanglish," that really says more about the type of people who get to make movies ("rich white folks in their gated communities and hilltop enclaves," as Patterson puts it) than their race. Or maybe we should write off the "film about race" altogether. Most of the titles Patterson cites as better examples of the genre don’t set out to be about race at all (a shakily broad topic that, like "war" or "love," is really no basis on which to conceive a film), but deal with it as an aspect of their characters’ lives, unlike the creatures that populate "Crash," clumsily fixated on ethnicity as if it were something that had just been invented.
Liz Hoggard, back into the Observer, buys into "Crash" wholeheartedly: "Crash is that rare cinematic event – a film that challenges audiences to question their own prejudices." She then goes on to raise our hackles by pulling out some of our least favorite recent titles:
[I]t’s exciting that once again, with films like Marc Forster’s Monster’s Ball, Crash, House of Sand and Fog, and new film Hustle and Flow, set in the world of rap music and with an all-black cast (a big smash hit at this year’s Sundance), we are seeing film-makers prepared to push the envelope.
Hell. It seemed inevitable that "Hustle & Flow" come up, but we hate to see that calculated piece of crap held up as pushing any social envelope other than that of the limits of corporate cashing in on hip-hop cachÃ© through the use of egregious stereotypes and unrepentant misogyny under the guise of an pseudo-arthouse film. Rar!