Finally saw Ganja & Hess (1973, d. Bill Gunn) for the first time over the weekend on the Criterion Channel, and… wow. What is this expansive discursive philosophical poetic treatise, couched as it is within an ostensible blaxploitation/horror framework, on black identity, black intellect, black diversity, black instability, and black addiction? Whatever it is, and it’s a lot, it’s an extremely powerful and beautiful film, even with its low-budget warts and unapologetically indulgent digressions. Fascinating to learn more about the incredible cast, starting right at the top with Duane Jones in the lead role of Hess, his only other leading role in a feature film other than
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