Director Jorge Hinojosa doesn’t apologize for his documentary Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp, one of many films being screened as part of the 2012 Houston Cinema Arts Festival. Portrait of a Pimp hails Slim as the grandfather of blaxploitation films and gangster rap, and, according to his fans, one of America’s most influential authors. Slim (born Robert Maupin in 1918) was, as the film's title suggests, a pimp. He ran stables of prostitutes between stints in prison until 1960, when, at the age of 42, he decided to write about his life on the street. His first book, Pimp, was called groundbreaking. Hinojosa's film takes Slim from the page to the screen; along with interviews with his many famous fans, such as Ice-T, Snoop Dogg, Chris Rock and Henry Rollins, viewers see Slim discussing his life. He recounts how he loved to degrade women, how he used mind games to keep the prostitutes who worked for him emotionally off-balance so as to make them less likely to leave him. He recalls how he got his nickname when he kept his cool as a stray bullet flew through his hat. Of course, it wasn't because he was so brave that Slim failed to make a fuss over the near miss. In reality, he was so high at the time, he just didn't notice. Hinojosa, who will be on hand to introduce Portrait of a Pimp at its 9:15 p.m. screening on November 10 at Sundance Cinemas, says he admires Slim. He holds him up as an example of a resourceful, intelligent man who made the most he could of his life. He's also an example of who not to date, says Hinojosa, who's a single father to a preteen daughter. Like many of the films being screened at the festival, Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp is provocative and sure to inspire energetic discussions.
Other films scheduled for viewing include Love, Marilyn by Liz Garbus, a documentary of Marilyn Monroe’s life, and Tatsumi by Eric Khoo, a look at the life and work of Japanese comic-book artist Yoshihiro Tatsumi. A highlight of the festival is sure to be an appearance by Robert Redford as he receives the Levantine Cinema Arts Award during a special presentation. Several directors, writers and actors are set to be on hand during the festival. Various times, locations and prices. Through November 11.
Nov. 7-11, 2012