The Lаst Blасk Mаn In Sаn Frаnсisсо is а drаmа film releаsed in 2019. Its рlоt revоlves аrоund а yоung Blасk mаn’s аttemрts tо regаin his bоyhооd hоme, а nоw-exрensive Viсtоriаn hоuse in а gentrified Sаn Frаnсisсо аreа. Let’s get to know about the film, The Last Man In San Francisco, in detail. What message does it convey, and what can be comprehended by that? So, stay pitched up with the article to the very end.
You might be like, hey, Jimmie fails, I know that name. And that’s because he plays a fictionalized version of himself in the film. He did live in LA victorian-style house in San Francisco. For his first three years. Until he sadly foreclosed on, as his family could no longer afford the payments. And then, the film molds the story, Jimmie in the film, spent the rest of his childhood in foster care and public housing. This personal connection to the film and to the house that is a lynchpin of a plot shines through. With the audience feeling for Jimmie’s connection to the house and understand his love. Moreover, his almost primal need to have the house.
And when it’s ripped away from him, we feel that too. But it’s this heartfelt plot Joe Talbot manages to explore. The theme of identity of elements of race stereotypes and toxic masculinity is being considered as well. This is all done on a backdrop of a San Francisco that is changing. And the effects of gentrification and poverty are very much at the forefront of this setting.
Toxic masculinity and gentrification are a big part of this film, so those two might get cheeky. Little mention as well if you haven’t seen the film. First of all, you probably should have if you’re reading this blog. It’s about Jimmie fails, sort of seemingly devoted his life to an old Victorian house his grandfather built in the 40s. Even though he doesn’t own the house anymore, he still spends his time making sure it stays in good condition. Painting the windowsills and taking care of the plants and that kind of thing even to the new owner’s dismay. He does all of this, accompanied by his best friend Monttz, played by John from Ages.
Monttz is a budding playwright and is in the process of writing his latest play. Based on the gang of seemingly generic folks who hang out by his grandfather’s house, Where he and Jimmie lived. There will be spoilers here, so you know proceed at your own risk.
The very initial scene of ‘The Last Black Man In San Francisco’
A session of decay and tension is established with people in ominous hazmat suits cleaning the area. While a little girl stares at them. This scene can almost be lifted out of some sort of post-apocalyptic film. Which says a lot about the conditions these people are forced to live in. This is all done to the voiceover of a preacher yelling about how there is a double standard. However, he is preaching to an empty crowd except for our two main characters Monttz and Jimmie. This preacher in agitates Jimmie, causing him to abandon the bus and instead take a skateboard with Monttz running behind, which is quite funny. This suggests that Jimmie knows what is happening to his once-great city. But he’s not ready to face up to it and doesn’t want to listen to what’s being said.
This could reflect the twist much later in the film, but the house he loves so much was not built by his grandfather. And he’s unable to face up to this truth as well. The past new buildings have been developed, establishing the neighborhood is undergoing gentrification. Perhaps the people in hazmat suits were only cleaning to make sure. That it’s ready and safe for the new, more wealthy inhabitants. Who were soon to move in and displace the current less well-off residents. We then get a montage of the struggles of the current residents. Followed by the montage of middle-class, white people looking kind of disgusted. And at one point, we see a blind man walking past. This signifies how the middle-class is blind to the struggles of those less fortunate.
We then see a seemingly crazy white guy who is screaming at Jimmie to take him away with him. Numerous liberal middle classes tried to be all hip and cool. Moreover, fake consciousness when talking to the less fortunate minorities. These types of people are seen throughout the film. Liberals serve in the first five minutes, and a rich setting has been established, which is set on the theme of gentrification. And that people either ignore the struggles or kind of like the fake care about it.
What is gentrification, and how is its idea incorporated in the film?
In a historically disinvested neighborhood, a process of neighborhood revitalization includes economic change. This is known to be gentrification. You can’t talk about this film without mentioning it. So, here goes this idea of gentrification. This lingers in the background for the whole film. It’s even the reason Jimmie’s family lost the house in the first place. As the neighborhood was seemingly gentrified meaning payments and upkeep on the house increased. And Jimmie’s dad could no longer afford it, and it forced them out. This is seen again when Jimmie and Monttz come across a former apartment complex.
That has been destroyed to build a new, more expensive building. And when one of the characters says hundreds of families were forced out. There is a mean look on the builders’ faces, indicating that this is a deliberate process and done inspired for the poor. Who are mostly black communities? As mentioned before, throughout the film, there are numerous such incidents. A real estate agent is probably the best example of this. He pretends to care about Jimmie and Monttz. These real estate guys pretend to be caring and call themselves liberals but are not so.
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As more relatable to Jimmie and Monttz. The real estate guys complain about the fact there are all these people in the street. And these big art houses just sitting there collecting dust. This is all well and good, apart from the fact that he facilitates what people have been calling out not to. Moreover, complain about everything these less fortunate people do. But ultimately doesn’t truly care about them.
What can we comprehend from the film?
One of the real estate guys does drop this facade later in the film. When he keeps Jimmie and one other out and reveals a copy-pasted description of the house. The film has a more complex message than simply that gentrification is bad and rich white people are bad. The real estate guy and one of them do give Jimmie a week to move out. Moreover, even doesn’t call the cops on them. Well, this isn’t much; it does show that he has at least some humanity. And suggests he is forced to work within the system that causes gentrification.
So perhaps the criticism should be aimed at the system as a whole rather than the individual. The film also proposes that the new owners of the gentrified properties can care about their homes. There is one scene where Jimmie and Monttz find the old owner of the house sitting regretfully on the stairs after she lost her home due to a family disagreement. Following her mother’s death, so she’s sad about losing the house and her mom. When she’s initially forced to move out, the scene shows that she does have a love for the house, despite not having some kind of long-standing family connection to it. She still did have a connection to it, building upon the complexity of the message.
What does ‘THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO’ wants to convey
They also again hints that the blame should be on the system rather than the individuals as this woman hasn’t done anything wrong personally. And she only lost her house due to the system of inheritance. Another instance of this complexity is when Jimmie and Monttz are living in the house, they are seen to be mirroring the neighbors. Showing that they might have become gentrified themselves. So, perhaps the issue is more than just a simple racial divide. This is also seen in the short section where we see a poor and tidal akin white couple. Suggesting that they too have suffered from gentrification. However, this is the only time we see white people struggling to mean that while they can suffer from gentrification is predominantly minorities.
Who see the effect so overall, this film is a good display of the effects of gentrification. But it does consider its complexities. Moreover, it’s a good film to watch the stuff going on at the moment. As it gives an insight into what some of these minority groups are going through throughout the film, Jimmie has a deep care for the house. Being the most obvious example, about halfway through, Monttz pretty much sums us up by saying you cared about things I liked.
This also reveals one appreciation for the care, but more on that later, this care is best exemplified in his job. At one point, a woman calls him a nice man forever hammering home. That being caring is natural for Jimmie; it could be that he’s been able to embrace his caring nature due to the house, which gives him something concrete to care about. This is contrasted by Kofi, a member of the gang who grew up with Jimmie and cared for their home due to his association with the gang. Who at first glance seemed to be anything but caring.
However, as it turns out, Kofi also has a naturally caring nature as he stands up for Jimmie and fights off the older kids. When they were younger, but Kofi wasn’t able to foster this nature. As he had nothing to tie it to grow up in a harsh world. Where gentrification has pushed people like him to the fringes of society. So, he fell into a gang that forced him to conform to their toxic masculinity. And this even led to his death.
Eventually, as he was shot by a rival gang, on the other hand, Jimmie, at his house, which gave him something to care about, and Monttz, also shown to be caring, had his place as Jimmie. Moreover, Monttz, knowing they could channel their care into it. They stopped themselves from falling into gangs and violence. Like how he did this is pretty much summed up after Kofi is killed. Jimmie said that he could have been just like Kofi if it wasn’t for the house. Almost meaning, the house saved his life.
So it’s clear that Jimmie’s entire identity is reliant on the house. And this has generally been a good thing for him. However, while it does give him something to care for. Jimmie’s love for the house has almost become like an obsession. As he is shown to ignore months of blind grandfathers. Who very kindly let Jimmie live with him. Forcing him to struggle his way down the hall and past a phone cord.
While Jimmie’s on the phone trying a song out for the house. This connection to the house all comes crashing down when it’s revealed that Jimmie’s grandfather didn’t build the house. And it was all a lie. Jimmie states he was lying about it for so long that he started to believe himself. Showing how his identity was kind of centered all-around a lie. And he gets quite angry and even Brakes his skateboard, which is probably a metaphor for his identity being shattered.
But ultimately, he does realize he’s become too upset, and his identity should be more than just a house. And he just embraces who he is as a person. So we get quite on the nose ending with him paddling away from San Francisco. And a little rowboat seeming to distance himself from the house and finally create his own identity. One that isn’t entirely centered around a building. So, embrace your natural identity don’t tie it to anything or create any false identities.
About Montzz in ‘The Last Black Man In San Francisco’
Just embrace who you truly are as much. Moreover, the main plot of this film is very much centered around Jimmie. And he’s very much the main character of the posters to be considered. Moreover, Monttz looking like some kind of sidekick. The film’s subplots around in Montana gang. The film almost gives the gang equal attention and screen time. As a result, despite not having that big of an arc, Montt is a very well-developed character from very early on in the film.
We understand Mont appreciates the beauty in everyday life in one of the first scenes. When Jimmie’s working on the house while months are back, and sketch the house. In addition, Monttz appreciates life, and he’s supposed to be keeping a lookout for the owners of the house. But they managed to slip past him, indicating he could get lost in his apartment. It’s clear throughout the film, and they want to be very attentive to the nuance of a showman.
He rehearses his line in the mirror in similar but distinct spells. And how he almost studies the gang to capture their behavior. This appreciation almost transcends his own emotions. He doesn’t hate the gang even though they routinely mock him showing that he truly does just see the beauty in anything. Unlike Jimmie, once his job very much goes against his nature. As his job involves killing fish by bashing their head with a hammer. Which is very unsubtle and doesn’t leave much room for new ones.
But he used to this job and has done it for a while. As he casually talks to Jimmie while murdering a fish. This shows that due to the society he’s in with; obviously, that buzzword gentrification playing a big role. He’s been forced to go against his nature to support himself. This disregard for the fish is directly contrasted with the scene right before it. One is sitting in a boat sketching a scene of kids playing football. And it’s rubble and disrepair when a mutant fish with lots of eyes jumps into the boat.
As a concerned look of almost pity on his face, this scene also shows Monttz appreciation and things. That generally wouldn’t be seen as beautiful such as kids playing football misses horrible rubble and disrepair. And it also helps build a setting as one of decay and abandonment by the early Monttz arc in this film is less developed than Jimmie. He slowly becomes almost obsessive with his project. Which from one is his place in quite a sad scene, he lets his poor old grandfather down by not letting him help with the newest play.
The poor old guy this obsession comes to a climax when he almost publicly shames Jimmy during the play. Revealing that he lied about the house shows that Montes disregard both his grandfather and his best friend. Monttz is obsessed with putting on a dramatic play so like Jimmy’s identity, as to focuses around the house. Perhaps Monttz has become too focused on his plays, and by the end, they both recognize this and learn to embrace themselves rather than their projects.
What role does the gang play in the film?
So we’ve talked about the gang a fair bit, and it deserves its section. First of all, the gang can be seen as the effects of gentrification. A poor environment and abandonment by wider society have pushed people into performing gangs. To give them some kind of stability. However, we’ve talked enough about gentrification. So now we’re not gonna focus on that aspect of it, instead of how they put a stereotype. As soon as the gang is introduced, they could be seen as just stereotypical folks. They hang on the street a pretty rude to each other.
Other stuff we’ve seen a million times before in other films and TV shows. But as soon as this stereotype is established, it is subtly dismantled, showing each member of the gang is unique. And are not just some blind stereotype. One guy has his hair dyed to make him look like a leopard. While one guy has an eye patch, this indicates that while on the surface, they may be conforming to the stereotype. Deep down, they do have their own unique identities.
This idea that they’re hiding their true selves is built upon. Gang members can be seen singing a song that could almost be taken out of a church in the deep south. Somewhere which you wouldn’t expect these types of people to be singing. But they do under cover of night. Almost as if they are ashamed of doing it publicly. There’s a scene where Monttz goes up to the gang and directs them as if they’re actors in his play. This fervor cements the idea that it’s all just an act and that Monttz can see for at. Due to his attention to the nuance later in the film.
After Kofi has been killed and the gang feels responsible. They do drop this act, and one member even breaks down in front of Jimmie. This is framed in a way that makes us expect the gang member to fight Jimmie. But on breaking down, he goes against our expectations and breaks a stereotype.
They even recognize that they’ve played a part in Kofi dying. When the guy who’s seemingly the leader of the gang said, they pushed him too hard during the place scene. So I believe the purpose of the gang in this film is to challenge the stereotype. That is commonplace in today’s media, asserting that they are more complex than just folks. But each has their own unique identities and have often suppressed identities to fit in now.
The Last Black Man In San Francisco Ending Explained
- Was Kofi, what he showed to be in ‘The Last Black Man In San Francisco‘
Now, moving on to Kofi, who has quite a tragic story. Throughout the film, we see that Kofi doesn’t fit into the gang. Early on, we see the gang ridicule in his new rat tail, shown that uniqueness is discarded in the gang. But, also antagonize Kofi for running away when it gets into a fight. If we believe a rival gang showing how toxic masculinity is also a key part of the gang. You’re also foreshadowing his death as he was seemingly in a similar situation later. But he didn’t run, which was odd for him, getting shot.
This reveals that Kofi used to skate but gave up likely to fit in with the gang. Again suppressing his uniqueness made it not clear that Kofi is different from the other gang members. Or at least less committed to his act when he visits Monttz and Jimmie. He likes the house and is almost jealous of Jimmie and Monttz. Fair in saying like, it suggests that he wishes he could embrace his true nature. But the gang was just further ridiculing the idea that Kofi has been forced to.
Kofi smiles during a scene, suggesting he’s tired of conforming to the gang standards. However, he still does continue to conform, and it reaches a peak during the last scene. We see the gang are all talking to Jimmie and Monttz, making fun of the house. And Kofi joins in; he even takes it a bit too far and brings up Jimmie’s parents. This gets him lots of praise from a gang, making it clear they just want people to conform to their toxic masculinity.
However, after all, the talking Kofi looks sad almost disappointed himself. It shows he feels bad for making fun of Jimmie and didn’t believe the things he said so. Kofi’s character shows the perils of toxic masculinity and gang culture.