Newsnight Review discussed Emniem's new film directed by Curtis Hanson
(Edited highlights of the panel's review)
This is a film about what it's like to be poor white trash. To give up on the white identity. To be a part of a brotherhood. He represents what it's like to be there, among the lump and proletariat in the United States. He takes on everything. He rides what Blake calls the tigers of wrath and articulates and witnesses total deprivation and at the same time saying, "I don't want to be white, I want to be out of this identity. I want to be rid of it". It takes on power structures in the United States in a most remarkable way.
I didn't feel it was a radical rap movie. I felt it was Billy Elliot in a bobble hat. Here is a white man going into a black culture. Low and behold he does it better.
It's not about saying I don't want to be white. It's saying I'm going to go in there, to take it over and going to do it better. I can put up with that, but I'm bored. It's a banal script. It's a fairytale paradigm of the underdog does good.
I'd like to split the difference. It's a mono film. It starts, it goes on, it ends. It seems real-time to me in that way. I think it is his story to some extent. What people read into it is there projection. This guy was born into that situation, this is what he did. He does bring something different to rapping. He brings a white sensibility to rapping. He raps behind the beat instead of on top or in front of the beat instead of most African American rappers do.
Nobody has looked at the script all the energy goes into the rap scenes. They are inventive, fun, exciting. Outside of that you fall asleep.