Film Society of Lincoln Center brings you an opportunity to spend the weekend with Pam Grier in our retrospective "Foxy, The Complete Pam Grier" (March 15 – 17) with Grier in person for an illustrated conversation and intros and Q&As throughout the three-day extravaganza!
Programmed by Josh Strauss, who brought you last year's celebration of Raquel Welch, the series highlights Grier's iconic status, which goes far beyond the genre of Blaxploitation. "She has continued to serve as a muse and inspiration for many filmmakers since, culminating in her critically lauded turn in Quentin Tarantino’s classic noir Jackie Brown," said Strauss. "It will be a thrill to offer a comprehensive look at her work as well as have Pam, herself, at Film Society to talk about and reflect upon many of those films and her experiences making them."
Grier initially gained notoriety at the age of 24 in Jack Hill’s Coffy (1973), in which she plays the title character, seeking vengeance on behalf of her sister against drug dealers. No one can be trusted and everyone’s at risk when Coffy employs prowess, sexuality, and hired-gun skills to "rehabilitate" traffickers and king pins. Grier’s career became fully established a year later in Hill’s Foxy Brown (1974). Again employing her sexuality as a tool for revenge, and again in the titular role, Grier’s Foxy infiltrates a prostitution ring to avenge the death of her boyfriend by cremating human traffickers and castrating pimps.
Pam Grier in Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown
The greatness of Grier continued to flourish throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s with more ass-kicking turns in Arthur Marks’ Bucktown (1975), about bringing justice against police corruption in a small southern town; William Girdler’s Sheba, Baby (1975), in which Grier plays a Chicago detective who returns to her hometown of Louisville to fight mobsters; and John Carpenter’s Escape from L.A. (1996), a beat-the-clock ride through a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles where Grier plays a transsexual gang leader who leads the final assault on the oppressive forces now ruling the city.
Grier pays homage to the role that made her famous in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown (1997) as a sexy flight attendant who makes a little extra dough on the side by smuggling money from Mexico to the U.S. for Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson), a gun-runner. As Tarantino goes, Jackie Brown is full to the brim with wit and maniacal charm. In his review, Roger Ebert declared "whoever is the smartest will live" and Grier’s Jackie Brown is one smart lady.
Rounding out the Weekend of Grier will be screenings of Michael Schultz’s comedy Greased Lightning (1977), starring Grier and Beau Bridges alongside Richard Pryor, Grier’s boyfriend at the time; Kelljan’s Scream, Blacula, Scream (1973), the sequel to William Crain’s Blacula (1972); and Hill's The Big Bird Cage (1972), about thieving mercenaries looking to pull off a prison break.
Grier will be in person for The Big Bird Cage, Coffy, Greased Lightning, Jackie Brown (for which she received a Golden Globe nomination), Sheba, Baby, and Scream Blacula Scream. The retrospective will also feature a conversation with Pam Grier on March 17 illustrated by clips from her storied career.
Check out the press release for full descriptions and more details on "Foxy, The Complete Pam Grier" and come back to FilmLinc.com on Thursday, when tickets go on sale. You don’t want to miss this rare opportunity to engage with the inimitable star. The tagline for Coffy said it best: Grier is "the baddest one-chick hit-squad that ever hit town."