Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Now We Know for Certain Whether Ava DuVernay Will be Directing Marvel’s ‘Black Panther' Now We Know for Certain Whether Ava DuVernay Will be Directing Marvel’s ‘Black Panther' Revolution Cinema: 5 Films to Put on Your "To-See" List This July 4th Holiday Weekend Revolution Cinema: 5 Films to Put on Your "To-See" List This July 4th Holiday Weekend Donald Glover's FX Project 'Atlanta' Casts its Leads as Production Gets Underway (Atlanta is *Hot* This Year) Donald Glover's FX Project 'Atlanta' Casts its Leads as Production Gets Underway (Atlanta is *Hot* This Year) ABC Is Rebooting 'To Tell the Truth' with Anthony Anderson & NeNe Leakes ABC Is Rebooting 'To Tell the Truth' with Anthony Anderson & NeNe Leakes ‘Little White Lie' - Engrossing Look Into One Family's Silence, Secrets & Denial of Race - Now Streaming on Netflix ‘Little White Lie' - Engrossing Look Into One Family's Silence, Secrets & Denial of Race - Now Streaming on Netflix "Your Legacy Is More Than a Name" - Watch Michael B. Jordan in First Trailer for 'Creed' "Your Legacy Is More Than a Name" - Watch Michael B. Jordan in First Trailer for 'Creed' Trailer: Hannibal Buress Asks Life's Biggest Questions in New Comedy Central Series Coming 7/8, After 'Key & Peele' Trailer: Hannibal Buress Asks Life's Biggest Questions in New Comedy Central Series Coming 7/8, After 'Key & Peele' 'Extant' Returns to CBS 7/1. Get Caught Up w/ This 1-Minute Recap + Read What Critics Are Saying 'Extant' Returns to CBS 7/1. Get Caught Up w/ This 1-Minute Recap + Read What Critics Are Saying Today, 26 Years Ago, 'Do The Right Thing' Opened in Theaters. Watch the Cast & Crew Reunite Today, 26 Years Ago, 'Do The Right Thing' Opened in Theaters. Watch the Cast & Crew Reunite Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman & Julia Roberts Seek Justice in First Trailer for 'Secret in Their Eyes' Remake Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman & Julia Roberts Seek Justice in First Trailer for 'Secret in Their Eyes' Remake Issa Rae's HBO-Bound 'Awkward Black Girl'-esque Comedy Gets a Director Issa Rae's HBO-Bound 'Awkward Black Girl'-esque Comedy Gets a Director Watch Trailer for Fascinating New Documentary About Black Men and Chess - ‘Sideline’ Watch Trailer for Fascinating New Documentary About Black Men and Chess - ‘Sideline’ The Irresponsibility of 'What Happened, Miss Simone?' The Irresponsibility of 'What Happened, Miss Simone?' Zadie Smith Will Make Her Feature Screenwriting Debut, Teaming up w/ Claire Denis for Sci-Fi Project Zadie Smith Will Make Her Feature Screenwriting Debut, Teaming up w/ Claire Denis for Sci-Fi Project Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates 'Supremacy' Director Deon Taylor Talks Race, Horror, and Working With Lela Rochon (LAFF Premiere) 'Supremacy' Director Deon Taylor Talks Race, Horror, and Working With Lela Rochon (LAFF Premiere) Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

'The Film Before The Film: An Introduction To The History of Title Sequences In 10 Minutes'

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act April 25, 2013 at 6:11PM

'The Film Before The Film: An Introduction To The History of Title Sequences In 10 Minutes'
1
Do The Right Thing

A short history lesson here that I landed on my virtual desk and that I thought was worth sharing. 


It did also remind me of an old piece I wrote on the old S&A site 3 years ago or so, on memorable title sequences. And the one that I highlighted with was Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing.

It's a film that stands the test of time, and the 4-minute title intro alone could be its own film (the film before the film). Rosie Perez, fueled by the Chuck D's coarse, urgent voice and lyrics, and Terminator X's beats, literally fights the power, as the tracks title suggests. 

Her colorful (literally and figuratively) dance routine exudes a range of emotions - simultaneously oozing sexuality and sensuality, combined with a confidence, vulnerability and ferocity, all in an expression of power and struggle, clueing the audience in to what kind of a ride to expect for the subsequent 2 hours. 

And I think this will always be remembered as one of the most unforgettable opening title sequences in film history. No CGI, no elaborate camera movements, no trickery. It's simple enough, but it works! 

And when the 4 minutes ends, you're sufficiently open and invigorated for whatever comes next. 

Refresh your memory of it all in the video clip below, and then answer the question that follows: Any other memorable title sequences from "black films" that you can think of? 

But first, here's the short documentary history of title sequences in movies - from the simple informative usually white text on black backgrounds in the very early silent days of cinema, to the changes that came with the advent of sound film, when they started to become more personalized, to the introduction of computer generated graphics, to becoming the form of high art that they are today - or the film before the film. 

The short informative doc was a research project at the Berliner Technische Kunsthochschule.

Watch it below, and then, underneath you'll find Rosie Perez fighting the power:




Shadow & ActNewsletter