Positive Vision

Now that we have come to the end of semester, it is a great time to reflect on the different  Spike Lee films we have watched this semester. For me, the question Lee leaves in mind after every film is “Does a positive image of a world exist despite the tragedy west on the screen? What does this positive image consist of?”

For me, it is very difficult to answer these two questions because of how the mind works. As a viewer, I can easily identify the tragedy on screen in each of Lee’s films. For example, in “Chi-Raq”, we see he tragedy of gun-violence and the loss of innocent lives, primarily the children who do not experience a future. At the end of the film, part of Lee’s vision of a better future includes a trauma center built on the south-side of Chicago. However, Samuel L. Jackson’s final monologue challenges to ask will that be enough? In “Four Little Girls”, we see the images of the four young girls whose lives were taken from the world on a gloomy Sunday morning. Yet the mothers find it hard to enjoy the good in their lives because of anger that comes out in ways they do not understand.

After thinking about this, I think the next step after watching Lee’s movies is form a plan where we seek our better future. Yes we have learned more about the tragedies in the world and in return became angry. But we must seek our positive vision of the future. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but we must challenge for more and we must challenge for better.


Author: jayjay

photographer, dancer, aspiring lawyer

3 thoughts on “Positive Vision”

  1. I’ve often wondered about and questioned the open-ended nature of many of Spike Lee’s films, specifically Do the Right Thing and School Daze. I think that the reason Lee ends some of his films without a concrete conclusion is so that he can point the question towards the viewer. I also think that despite tragedy in Lee’s films, he ends up portraying a world that he sees as beautiful. It’s because he sees the beauty in the world that he must also portray the tragedy, so that viewers can see a world worth saving. I agree with you that as viewers, we need to negotiate (with ourselves) our positive vision for the world. It’s one thing to say that the world needs to change, and another thing to come up with a plan for what that change should look like.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree that Spike Lee is creating awareness with these stories from 4 Little Girls and When the Levees Broke that are not told in mainstream media. I think that you’re making a good point when it comes to what Lee wants us to do with these films. He wants to generate a response from us, but like you stated, where are we supposed to channel this anger, frustration, or confusion in positive ways? Or is it enough for us to create communities in spaces where we view Lee’s films or to generate more conversation amongst people that we know?

    I guess what I’m trying to ask is does there need to be a concrete plan or tangible outcome for Spike Lee’s films to be successful? Or is their effect on the audience enough to warrant a success?


  3. When I think of Lee’s films I am always reminded of the Love vs. Hate scene in Do The Right Thing. It seems that in all of Lee’s films, he accurately represents the Love and Hate, the good and the bad, the right and the wrong that is within this world. In the case of Chi-Raq, we can see the good through the work of Father Mike and the bad in the apathy of the government. Yet in the end, as can be seen in most films, there is a certain positive upbeat note, almost a call to action to let us know that it is in our hands to ensure that Love outweighs the Hate in this world and that, even when Hate wins (as it seems to in Do The Right Thing) its victory is not permanent or lasting; life goes on, and it is in the viewer’s hands to go out into the world and make it better.


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