Grindhouse

Penitentiary

Welcome Home Brother Charles

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Penitentiary

Convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, Martel ‘Too Sweet’ Gordone (Leon Isaac Kennedy) will have to learn to fend for himself behind bars in the Penitentiary. Locked in a dehumanizing hell of violence and brutality, his fists will lead him into an underground world of prison boxing, where winning could mean early release, and losing could mean your life. Filmed while he was still a student at UCLA, writer/director/producer Jamaa Fanaka’s searing L.A. Rebellion blockbuster remains a gritty, sweaty, must-see grindhouse classic.

35mm print courtesy of the LA Rebellion collection at UCLA Film & Television Archive.

Film courtesy of Xenon Pictures, Vinegar Syndrome and the American Genre Film Archive.

Director
Jamaa Fanaka
Starring
Leon Isaac Kennedy, Thommy Pollard, Hazel Spear
Year
1979
Rated
R
Country
USA
Format
35mm
Running Time
99 minutes

Welcome Home Brother Charles

After his release from prison, a black man will take violent revenge against the racist system that framed him for murder, culminating with one of the most shocking climaxes in grindhouse history. In his rivetingly raw first feature, Welcome Home Brother Charles, writer / director / producer / editor Jamaa Fanaka combines Blaxploitation and horror elements with stirring social commentary to unleash one of the most powerful film debuts in ‘70s independent cinema.

35mm print courtesy of the LA Rebellion collection at UCLA Film & Television Archive.

Film courtesy of Xenon Pictures, Vinegar Syndrome and the American Genre Film Archive.

“Fanaka unblinkingly drives his thematic raison d’etre home with raw conviction and verve. On its surface a revenge tale of an African American man framed and abused by the white establishment, Fanaka’s exaggerated symbolism and subtext elevates the film to unexpected parallel tracks of surrealism and social commentary.” – Mark Quigley, UCLA Film & Television Archive

“Sets out to top the outrageousness of blaxploitation, the most flamboyant of 1970s subgenres, while simultaneously commenting on the insidious nature of racism in contemporary American society.” – Nathan Rabin, The Dissolve

Director
Jamaa Fanaka
Starring
Marlo Monte, Reathe Grey, Stan Kamber, Tiffany Peters
Year
1975
Rated
R
Country
USA
Format
35mm
Running Time
91 minutes

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