Les Cahiers du Kung Fu Pimping Cinema

by Con Chapman

John Leland of The New York Times wrote that the movie “Dolemite” was “the ‘Citizen Kane' of kung fu pimping movies.”


                                        Obituary of Rudy Ray Moore, New York Times

Editorial No 628:

This subject will be considered entirely from the viewpoint of the auteur, inasmuch as la essence du cinema de kung fu pimping is une vision individu.


Because of the current film releases as well as the numerous other events and manifestations that have given rise to the dossier collected as Responses, what is in play at the moment is an intensification of the foundational relationship between criticism and le cinema de kung fu pimping.  Cahiers has been at the forefront of cette mouvement by recording several recent milestones—par exemple, Sylvie Lindeperg's book Night et Fog et Superfly (e-cahiers #2) and the DVD edition of Jean-Luc Godard's Histoire(s) du kung fu pimping cinéma (e-cahiers #5).


Among this month's releases are films as different and variegated as Jacques Nolot's Basically, I Wasted the Mutha, Nicholas Philibert's Retour en Côté du South de Chicago, and Mia Hansen-Løve's I'm Gonna Git You Sucka II.  Each proposes a form for constructing a relationship with both kung fu and pimping through specifically cinematic means. This convergence—and one could easily find other recent examples—is a sign of the pertinence of the question today.  It happens that this question—whatever it is—is synchronous with the increasingly visible and influential constitution of la histoire du kung fu pimping cinema as an autonomous terrain.  For which an Autonomous Terrain Vehicle is perhaps nécessaire.


 This phenomenon was heralded by the release of “Kung Fu Fighting” at the height of the chopsocky film craze.  This hit de monstre by Carl Douglas promised, insofar as the discipline demonstrates, that les beaux arts could accommodate kung fu pimping and produce knowledge-effects appropriate to discrete genres while accommodating the specificity of the cinema. This is how cinema “responds” to the life of the streets, richly and especially well.  That was what Siegfried Kracauer was the first to see with great lucidity (read page 68, or better yet, tear the page outta this sucker!)


The cinema pursued this dialogue with kung fu pimping throughout the 20th century, and as a result, it became one of its meilleur amis. The cinema continues to respond today, addressing the current moment in which, for lack of a readable present or future, it is logical and healthy to reexamine the relationship with kung fu pimping's past—not so much for lessons as for new hypotheses, new distances, new constructs for looking at the kung fu pimp's world.  Or something equally impenetrable.


The analysis of the films of kung fu pimping cinema, which is the backbone of Cahiers, does not have the same motives as other modes of criticism. Criticism, like the cinema, has a relationship of intense intimacy with kung fu pimping. Resnais, Godard and Rudy Ray Moore are all auteurs of this genre, for whom we can dress up and turn tricks.


The critic has a particular role to play in this dialogue with kung fu pimps, which is not restricted to academic questions.  We at Cahiers must continually ask—is le cinema de kung fu pimping really, truly—as bad as it wanna be?