The SMACK heard across the world


Satire needs to have a cutting point. It needs intention, and in this film, the intention was unclear. That being said, we identified scenes interspersed throughout when Lee used form to make statements about power. When the men sneak into the armory to unlock the chastity belts, Old Duke decides to challenge Lysistrata. He insults her, asking the women “to be polite… bow down to the man.” Rather than give in, Lysistrata attacks the men’s masculinity. The sound design of the scene is important: we hear her heels but not his footsteps. When she smacks Old Duke, all of the men seem physically affected when their heads flinch. This is an exceptional scene from the film, and by that we mean both powerful, and an exception. We found Chi-Raq’s ending to be too digestible, and out of touch with reality. The film isn’t grounded in reality, but we are.

Untitled.pngThroughout the film, we see women of color use their sexuality as a weapon.





3 thoughts on “The SMACK heard across the world”

  1. I agree, I think this scene is also powerful. I’m curious to know what you guys think is the intention of this scene. Is it just to show a power dynamic shift between men and women or is it simply to show how important sound is in the film?


    1. More of the former, I think. The sound communicates this shift in power before the smack (Duke’s quiet steps as he approaches the camera vs Lysistrata’s echoing steps). Then the loud smack punctuates the moment.


  2. I wrote about this scene last night and I’m glad a group tackled the same sequence. While I agree with Lysistrata’s challenging of Duke/The Knights’ masculinity, I also think that that she effectively shakes the men from their possessive/material desires amidst the bigger goal of peace in Chicago/”The true meaning of life.” Framing has a lot to do with this, specifically when you compare how Lee frames Lysistrata vs Duke in their shot-reverse-shot sequence (powerful vs withdrawn).


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