Lee on Chi-Raq: Frustration and Love

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Lee on CNN

This is a short interview with Lee that is worth watching. One can see two things from Lee when he is talking about his latest film Chi-Raq, first you can feel his frustration, not anger, but his sad frustration for the direction things went over the past couple decades, with all the violence and innocent deaths that are happening all over the country. This is something that is clearly dear to Lee’s heart, as we’ve seen in his films like Crooklyn, Do the Right Thing and Mo Better Blues what a neighborhood should look like, and how this image has changed in Chi-Raq. Lee says,”We have failed our youth” because they don’t care if they die, and life is the most precious thing. This is where we see Lee’s obvious not only concern but love he has for children as he wears his heart on his sleeve with this matter. Something has got to change and I believe that Chi-Raq is a way for Lee to communicate with a contemporary audience about this message, to say that violence doesn’t have to be the way.

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Lee Press Conference

If you skip to 16:00 of the press conference on Chi-Raq you can listen to Lee talk about the film in relation to its criticisms. He connects Chi-Raq back to Do the Right Thing, how there was controversy over the film the same way there is with Chi-Raq and the message and response are still the same, human life is more important than property, than business or politics and this film is trying to send the message to stop violence, to save lives. One can certainly see Lee’s frustration come out at times with the people’s responses and how they are missing the point but you also see how deeply he cares about this problem, about the lives being lost and about the future for America’s children.



3 thoughts on “Lee on Chi-Raq: Frustration and Love”

  1. This is such a crucial aspect to recognize about both Chiraq and any other film that Lee produces. He is attempting to initiate a discussion that seems to get lost amidst anger and frustration, but in a way that seems fresh and reconceptualized. Great share man


  2. I wonder if this film, like Do the Right Thing, will be remembered as a classic or a testament to how neighborhoods should be in several years.


  3. After watching Lee’s press conference, I agree with Lee only up to a certain extent. I agree with Lee in that artists in their work hold a mirror up to reflect the world for what it is–whether this may be good or bad. Secondly, I agree that the critics were on the wrong side of history with their views on Do the Right Thing. However, I think that just because Spike Lee has been on the wrong side of history in the past, does not mean that he does not have the potential of being wrong in the future. I am not contending with the topic that he chose for the film or the gravity of gun violence in Chicago, but I am saying that the form in which Lee presents women and the issue is a backwards depiction of women itself and trivializes the serious issue. Although I respect Lee as a director, I firmly believe that this is Lee’s flawed film in that it does not resonate with moral purity in the ways that his other films do.


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