Black Love (1971)

This is the one uncle Herschell wanted to stay lost, and, in fairness, I can kind of understand why. Having been lost for decades, there were apparently mixed reports of what the film actually was—Lewis goes blaxploitation?—and, lo and behold, it’s hardcore! Despite Lewis saying he never did hardcore and left filmmaking so he wouldn’t have to, well, he did this one at least… he’s not actually credited as director, but neither is he on a number of his other films, including the other two in the “lost films” set, so I don’t think that means anything. Still, his lack of enthusiasm for hardcore can be divined from the film even so; other reviews I’ve read of this set think the other two films show him unhappy even just doing softcore, and he doesn’t seem any more excited by doing the hard stuff. No wonder he’s tried to deny directing it. Anyway, the film itself proves to be what they used to call a “white coater”, or a (pseudo-)documentary about sex trying to pretend its scenes of people fucking have educational or sociological value. The opening narration is at pains to deny that Black Love is just the hardcore sex film that it is; what lessons, then, are we to take from it? Well, apparently a black man puts his penis in a black woman’s vagina. Black people do it doggystyle. Black people like fellatio. Black people like foreplay. Black people like changing position during sex. Black people like dancing naked. Black people like fucking in cars. Black people learn how to do it when they’re young by watching other adult black people do it (really, if the other two films in this set have their morally grey bits, this one goes WAY beyond either of them at a couple of points). I don’t know about anyone else, but the cumulative effect of all this information was to make me wonder how white people do it by comparison. Needless to say, it’s not only as exploitative as all hell, there’s a whiff of racism to the whole thing, though the latter aspect of the film is possibly complicated by the fact that Lewis’ producer, the R.L. Smith whose name Lewis apparently took to hide his own directorial (dis)credit, was himself black. Yet again, a film you can hardly call “good” as such, yet it’s hard to actively dislike somehow, possibly because it’s so transparently absurd. I don’t suppose anyone actually ever watched this for its educational value; I just kind of hope they didn’t watch it to get off, either…

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