The Philosophy of Spike Lee (The Philosophy of Popular Culture)
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Return to Book Page. Conard Goodreads Author Editor. Conard and an impressive list of contributors delve into the rich philosophy behind this filmmaker's extensive work.
The Philosophy of Spike Lee
Not only do they analyze the major themes of race and discrimination that permeate Lee's productions, but also examine other philosophical ideas that are found in his films, ideas such as the nature of time, tra In The Philosophy of Spike Lee, editor Mark T. Not only do they analyze the major themes of race and discrimination that permeate Lee's productions, but also examine other philosophical ideas that are found in his films, ideas such as the nature of time, transcendence, moral motivation, self-constitution, and justice.
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Red Hook Summer : As pleasant as it is to see Lee back working low-budget in Brooklyn, this coming-of-age tale is a little too unbridled and sloppy to completely get onboard with. As always, Lee is a master of sketching out the details of a community; this one, Red Hook, is almost a land lost in time, one that has stayed almost unwittingly stuck as the rest of Brooklyn and the world close in on it. This film might have been better received had it not come directly on the heels of Do the Right Thing ; it was seen as simultaneously safe and misguided, as if Lee had to make an earth-shaking movie every time out.
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Crooklyn : After making a magnum opus like Malcolm X , what could Spike Lee possibly do as a follow-up? The answer, happily, was this warm, personal film about a Brooklyn family in the seventies led by Delroy Lindo and Alfre Woodard. And also to show an African-American family that was not dysfunctional; that was headed by two parents. Hughley, and Cedric the Entertainer right before they all blew up and careened into all different directions. Lee wrote the script himself. And you know what? We still loved it.
The movie is a cauldron of huge emotions constantly boiling over, and Lee just lets them run wild. But what a glorious mess it is. Bamboozled : Incisive social critique or tone-deaf, hyperbolic satire? Damon Wayans plays a TV comedy writer who decides to produce a sure-to-fail minstrel show in the hopes of getting fired, but to his horror Mantan: The New Millennium Minstrel Show becomes an instant sensation.
You have the sense of him circling around these reference points, feeling for what has changed, and what has not. The story began bizarrely enough, when Stallworth saw a recruitment ad for the KKK in the classifieds of the local newspaper. He called the number, raised the pitch of his voice a couple of notches, and made up a tale about his disgust at his white sister dating a black man. He was immediately invited to join up. Duke eventually came to Colorado Springs personally to initiate Stallworth into the Klan. Lee is a master of comic caricature and the Klan members offer scope for a full range of racist imbecility.
In a coincidence not lost on the director, at the same time that Stallworth was infiltrating the Klan, Lee was involved in some anti-fascist action of his own. His response was a student film — his first — called The Answer , in which a young black director is hired by a Hollywood studio to remake The Birth of a Nation from his own viewpoint. Inevitably, that vision becomes compromised by the studio and the young director pulls out of the film.
Along the way he becomes a target for the Klan himself. This time, pointedly, it is directed toward the occupant of the White House, Agent Orange. We thought that the story could make lightbulbs go off in their heads. If that sounded far-fetched in , it sounds tragically less so now. There is no need for the so-called dogwhistle any more, they are in full daylight.
BlacKkKlansman ends, in a typical Spike Lee payoff, with graphic news footage from the violent Unite the Right march in Charlottesville last August , which ended with the death of Heather Heyer , who had been protesting against the torch-lit rally. She lost her daughter in an act of terrorism. One hundred per cent American, apple pie, fourth of July, homegrown terrorism.
The film is due to be released in the US on 10 August, to coincide with the first anniversary of the Charlottesville march. There are plans for another Unite the Right rally, this time opposite the White House. For a long time, Americans have wanted to see white supremacism as ancient history, Lee suggests, but it has never been that. If you go to the constitution it is written that slaves were counted as three-fifths of a human being, chattel, like cows or chickens.
Unless we can come to grips with how this nation was formed and be honest about it we will never go forward. Because Lee has been associated so closely with Brooklyn as a film-maker, it is easy to forget that he was born in the south, in Atlanta, Georgia. It seems to me that his film-making always wants to have journalism somewhere near its heart.
He agrees that those films were pivotal in some ways to how his methods have developed. He was a man not long for this world, he knew that he was soon to meet his maker, and he knew that he was going to hell. In some ways, Lee — irrepressible, steeped in history — was born to that role of inquisitor of white power.
His father, like his grandfather before him, went to Morehouse College in Atlanta, a celebrated African American arts institution, and was a contemporary of Martin Luther King Jr.