Women IN FILM
In the first of a three-part series, we explore strong female leads in film and the wider impact they’ve had on popular culture. Warning! Spoilers ahead...
Illustrations by Rupert Smissen | Words by Goodhood Creative
Jackie Brown - JACKIE BROWN 
Pam Grier already had a string of leads in the 1970s before Jackie Brown was made, starring in the Blaxploitation films Coffy and Foxy Brown, amongst others. Whilst the genre played into questionable stereotypes of black culture, and in particular black femininity, films like Foxy Brown spoke directly to the ‘70s women’s power movement, with leading female roles helping to redefine ideas of African-American beauty, sexuality, and womanhood. It’s easy to be enlightened in 2018, but characters like Coffy or Foxy Brown were the spirit of tough and deserved vengeance. Tarantino cast Pam Grier in his adaptation of the genre as Jackie Brown, a flight attendant for a Mexican airline who smuggles money from Mexico into the USA for a black-market gun runner to make ends meet. Caught in a string of deception, she gets bailed on smuggling charge, hatches a deal worth a cool half a million and manages to double-cross everyone in the process. The film reaches its climax with Brown performing an elaborate money swap in a changing room at the Del Amo mall. In the end, she flees the country and keeps nearly all her cash.
The film exudes ‘70s style, which nods to the era of Pam’s earlier leads, with individual detail that becomes signature to her character, such as the Kangol beret, or the brown leather flight bag in which she stashes the cash that buys her freedom. The tagline reads ‘Six players on the trail of a half million in cash… Who’s playing who?’ Ultimately, she plays them all, and wins.
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