Reflections

SXSW 2000 Film Festival and Conference

AMERICAN PIMP

Dir: Allen Hughes, Albert Hughes; Prod: Allen Hughes, Albert Hughes, Kevin J. Messick; Co-Prod: Spencer Franklin; Ed: Dan Lebental, Doug Pray; Cast: Rosebudd, Schauntte, Bradley, C-Note, Ken Ivy, Charm, RP, Fillmore Slim, Sir Captain, Payroll, Gorgeous Dre.

35mm, 86 min., 1999 (RP)

Think platform shoes, garish Cadillacs with wide whitewalls, gold jewelry, and outrageously dressed prostitutes. The Hughes Brothers' documentary is a smart, often funny look at the pimp world, in which Fillmore Slim, Sir Captain, rapper Too Short, and Bishop Don Magic Juan expound on the finer points of pimpology. With visits to Seattle, New York, Las Vegas, Hawaii, and Los Angeles, the players discuss the sartorial splendor of pimp style, the business end of the profession, how they each got started as pimps, and the relationship between the pimp and the whore. ("It's not matrimony, it's mack-rimony.") With clips from blaxploitation classics such as The Mack, Willie Dynamite, and Slaughter's Big Ripoff (not to mention silent footage and even Citizen Kane), the filmmakers leave no stone unturned in their exploration of the pimp's faux-elegant subculture. As the macks describe the business in their own words, the film doesn't exactly glorify pimpdom; one pimp winds up facing a long jail stretch and several players casually discuss beating their women to keep them in line. The Hughes Brothers came up with a documentary that has plenty of style and panache, one that's bound to challenge the way you may perceive the world of pimps and hookers.

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