1979: 2 movies

posted 2015 June 27

Richard Pryor: Live in Concert
Directed by Jeff Margolis 
Written by Paul Mooney and Richard Pryor
Produced by Steve Blauner, Hillard Elkins,
Del Jack, David Permut, William Sargent Jr.,
and J. Mark Travis
Cinematography by Tom Schamp 
Editing by Daniel J. Johnson, Ken Johnson,
and Steve Livingston 
Live event production by Don E. Branker
Starring Richard Pryor

   At times it feels like a sermon by a fiery preacher, at others like an after-dinner monologue by a favorite relative, a rowdy after-hours bar-room comedic rant, and a mystical camp-fire pantomime tale. In the end, what we learn is how challenging it was to be Richard Pryor, as a black child in America, as a young black man trying to make his way, as a married man raising children, and as a famous entertainer. Through a clever and groovy sense of rhythm, language, and accents, we see pain transformed into beauty, redemption, and peace. It's depressing to realize how little has changed in race relations since this show, but it's somehow healing to hear Pryor confront the times. It's a priceless, timeless evening, created simply by a few cameras, a man, a stage, a mic, and a beautiful audience in Long Beach, California.

Written and directed by Ed Emshwiller
Computer programming by Alvy Ray Smith,
Lance Williams, and Garland Stern

   Strange and mystical computer animated short movie. It plays with faces, movement, colors, brightness, and geometry. Today, some of the effects used in this movie are seen as heavily outdated, but they all work together well to exude a sense of mythology, mystery, and peaceful order. The fact that, at the time, computer-work in cinema was still a novelty, also adds to this movie's importance.

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