3.23 – CHI-RAQ and Violence

Our final Spike Lee joint is 2015’s CHI-RAQ: based on an Ancient Greek play, and set in modern-day gangland Chicago, this is both very different from and yet ? at least in terms of its racial politics ? remarkably similar to last week’s film. We have contrasting reviews of the film, but go on to talk about the contemporary resonances of the movie, what it tries but fails to do with some of its characters, and how watching Spike Lee’s genius over this past month has been eye-opening for both of us!


Next Week
Next we embark on a new director: Nicolas Winding Refn. Our first Winding Refn picture is 1996’s PUSHER, available here (remember we’re only looking at the first film): https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pusher-Trilogy-DVD-Jesper-Salomonsen/dp/B000FH8TZ6.
This Week’s Media
XXIII OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES (2018)
MUM (2018): Stefan Golaszewski, Lesley Manville, Peter Mullan
Recommendations
MR AND MRS SMITH (2005): Doug Liman, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie
ROMEO + JULIET (1996): Baz Luhrmann, Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes
GROSSE POINTE BLANK (1997): George Armitage, John Cusack, Minnie Driver
BLADE (1998): Stephen Norrington, Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff
Footnotes
Firstly, soberingly, Rob mentions the Parkland, FL shooting as a recent touchstone for the film: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/02/15/us/florida-shooting-victims-school/index.html. Then, the play on which the narrative is based is the Aristophanes comedy LYSISTRATA: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysistrata. In our discussion of John Cusack’s role in the film, we talk about the ‘white saviour’ complex: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_savior_narrative_in_film. Bagger Vance and Adonis Johnson are two movie characters that we mention, at opposite ends of the ‘people of colour on film’ narrative spectrum: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0146984http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3076658. Finally, here’s that line from Joseph Heller (don’t ask why, but I could only find this on Ricky Gervais’s Twitter?): https://twitter.com/rickygervais/status/152820326600945664?lang=en.