A TURBULENT LOVE COMEDY TAKING place in Harlem in 1956. Jackson, a young, unexperienced, upper-class youth, meets the beautiful Imabelle, a hardened gangster lady who uses him, then leaves. Blinded by love he starts looking for her in the Black underground world. _ Comment:A FILM NOIR PASTICHE IN AN EFFECTIVE colorful version with only Black people and nearly animated esthetics. Well, only the trailer is animated, and then in a modish, screamy style, but the director Bill Duke's inspiration seem to come from both the 40's and 50's black and white films - with a hardboiled jargon and closed, barely lit, rooms - and directly from the semi-animated movic of the 80's, ''Roger Rabbit''. Robin Givens' gangster lady Imabelle looks like the Noir-character ''Dangerous Woman with a good heart, deep inside''. ''I wonder when the last time was a role like this existed. It was probably in 1956 when this movic takes place, that we last saw her'', Robin Givens told me when I met her in Cannes this year. Jessica Rabbit borrowed attributes from Rita Hayworth's Gilda. She made the billowing red hair even more billowing, and the tight, red, dress cven tighter, and she made the nonchalance extrcmely nonchalante. Robin Givens' Imabelle character appears, in its turn, to have taken over some traits from the animated film, Jessica Rabbit. The dress is tighter than tight. The gait nearly impossible. The sublime is submitted to the obvious, wide, gestures. ''For Black women it's quite wonderful to be seen as attractive, beautiful or just women'', Robin Givens said. ''We have Julia Robcrts, Winona Ryder, Rosanna Arquette - I can't even remember them all. And among that crowd I can't recall even one Black woman. I thank God for Whoopie Goldberg. We have Naomi Campbell, Iman, Diana Ross - but Black people making love on the screen, and where the woman is beautiful and sexy - wow! We've never seen that before. I started my own company three years ago, Rydon Sean has started his. We have to begin to take our own responsibilities too - you know, Meryl Streep complaining about there not being enough good parts ... '' ''It's not going to be fun to go back to Harlem now. Life has been stifled there'' the director Bill Duke said when we talked at thc Cannes festival this spring. ''Before there was a spirit, a vibration. Today there is only depression, misery. It used to be a happy place.'' But the Harlem we see in the film is far from the misery in contemporary photos. Here you'll find extravagant surroundings, well-dressed, dressed up, Black people. WARDA KHALDI

A Rage in Harlem
Bill Duke
107 min
Midnight Releases
Forest Whitaker, Robin Givens, Danny Glover
Kerry Boyle, Stephen Woolley
John Toles-Bey, Bobby Crawford
Elmer Bernstein

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