During De-la’s interview with a black radio host, Spike Lee employs a shot reverse structure that actively and aggressively violates the 180 degree rule of cinema.Throughout the interview, Spike situates the characters at opposing ends of the frame in order to establish a visual conversation.
Here, we can see that Spike places the Radio host on the left side of the frame and Pierre on the right: a classic, over the shoulder “shot-reverse-shot” structure. Yet, as the scene progresses between cross-cuts of “Man-Tan” and the reality outside of the studio, the camera proceeds to jump the 180-degree line that has established the spatiality of the radio host and Pierre onscreen (See image below).
By continuously flipping the orientation of these two characters, Spike captures the sentiment of those that disagree with Pierre and Man-Tan (“You have been called a traitor, an Uncle Tom, a sell-out. You have even been called the Clarence Thomas of network television.”) By presenting two sides of the interview, the viewer can also observe two sides of Pierre as a character; as a Harvard-educated, uptight black television writer, Pierre lives in a constant state of double-consciousness that places him directly between his white superiors and his black peers. While defending the importance of his show — which aims to disrupt and dismantle the slave-mentality of the Black-American through satire — it seems that Pierre has forgotten the original purpose of Man-Tan: to release him from this contract. Somewhere along the way, culminated in this scene, Pierre has deepened the fracture of his being, producing a third split that seems “other” to both black and white America.