Ganja & Hess
DIRECTOR: BILL GUNN
CAST: BILL GUNN, MARLENE CLARK, DUANE JONES
Cut by timid distributors and inappropriately marketed as grindhouse blaxploitation, this eerie, sui generis work by utterly iconoclastic director Bill Gunn (Personal Problems) is, in its original form, nothing short of a masterpiece of ‘70s American cinema. Night of the Living Dead’s Duane Jones is an anthropologist living in aristocratic splendor in the Hudson Valley who finds himself lusting for blood after being stabbed by his unstable assistant (Gunn). What proceeds from this is a baroque, atmospheric rumination on the clash between African-American and Euro-American culture, animist and Christian influences, and homo–and hetero–desire. With Marlene Clark and Sam L. Waymon, who also composed the film’s haunting score.
This version of Ganja & Hess, saved by scholar Pearl Bowser, represents the director’s cut of the film, restored by the Museum of Modern Art from a 35mm negative, with support from the Film Foundation.
A Kino Lorber release.