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Public Enemy (1999)

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Title: Public Enemy (1999)

Public Enemy (1999) on IMDb 6.1/10

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Credited cast:
Kathleen Cleaver ...
Jamal Joseph ...


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independent film | See All (1) »



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Release Date:

7 June 2001 (Germany)  »

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An interesting look at prominent Black Panther Party members 30 years on
19 July 2000 | by (Auckland, New Zealand) – See all my reviews

Many people who were alive in the sixties will remember the Black Panther Party. They were the scary looking black guys with leather coats, black berets and guns.

They patrolled black neighbourhoods causing trouble and killing policemen... right?

Only if you believe the propaganda. What this independent film makes clear is that the Black Panther Party was a radical progressive movement, who along with Students for A Democratic Society, and the ACLU and NAACP helped change the United States in the sixties.

Do you also remember the breakfast clubs so that children didn't have to go to school hungry? Do you remember the books that were an important part of training a Black Panther Party member? Do you remember the fact that the Black Panther Party members had every legal right to do what they did?

The movie makes it clear that the reason tat the Party members carried guns was to protect themselves from Police brutality. In the end, I think that their policy backfired, and they were targeted much more violently then they might otherwise have been for that policy.

The movie combines coverage of sixties footage with shots of four members as they appear now. Even though they have been subjected to harassment, imprisonment, and brutality, what shined clearly through, was that these are intelligent, articulate and determined people who have made the very best of their lives and kept to their ideals.

The most emotional part of the movie was when the people talked about their comrades who had been killed. They fought against the "pig" power structures in society, in order to give their people a better life. They look around now, and see that over the last 30 years, things have not got better, instead, they have become much worse, and the question was asked: "Did our brothers die in vain?"

It's not too late to make the answer "NO!"

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