It’d be easy to write off Paramount’s Tupac: Resurrection as a cheap publicity stunt. Produced by Viacom sister company MTV, this multimedia doc is directed by a “Cribs” executive producer and features Tupac Shakur sharing his views on life, love, race, and everything in between, with Tabitha Soren. But when C. DeLores Tucker and numerous right-wing nuts condemned the late rapper for celebrating violence and objectifying women in the mid-‘90s, who were the ones that repeatedly offered him a platform for rebuttal? No doubt offered free rein inside the MTV vaults, director Lauren Lazin collects archival footage, photographs, unaired interviews, and press clippings of the late rapper and pieces the madness of his life using endless audio-visual tics and narration that’s “in his own words.” Lazin and her editors have essentially made Tupac’s life as accessible as possible for the so-called MTV generation, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing if it reconnects a Tupac fan with his or her lost messiah. The film’s MTV aesthetic is noisy and the interactivity buried beneath all the blinking fonts, historical cutouts, and moving graphics is strenuous. It’s an affecting work, but its power is deceptive. Though it’s not as daring as Nick Broomfield’s Biggie & Tupac, Resurrection is still a testament to Tupac’s ever-evolving legacy as one of black culture’s most powerful and invigorating rebel poets. But not unlike a Tupac album, this is a work that’s better enjoyed with your eyes closed. Lazin’s images don’t illuminate social orders, stereotypes, or gross injustices. Tupac’s words do all the work for her—she’s just there to shuffle the cards. Lazin’s use of montage is jokey, but it’s the words of the fallible but undeniably wise Tupac that really sting.
- Lauren Lazin
- Tupac Shakur
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