When the Levees Broke Lives

When the Levees Broke

One of the most disturbing aspects of New Orlean’s Hurricane Katrina experience was the disposability of black lives. Spike Lee used various forms of comparison, interviews, and images to inflict how mistreated black lives were by the government and by society. The dozens flowing and distorted bodies in the water images along with heart-wrenching stories of sons and daughters discovering their parents’ bodies enables the audience to realize the injustices done to black, human lives during and after the disaster.

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In the World & at Amherst: Women Empowerment

This past weekend was a weekend of commemoration and appreciation. Specifically, this was a weekend of women empowerment. I attended three separate events that celebrated and/or commemorated the female body, mind, soul, and courage, which made me feel am immense sense of pride and empowerment.

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Black Lives Matter & Brotherhood

In one of our previous class discussions, we talked about the representation of an “individual’s story” and “stories of individuals”. Malcolm X’s story was an individual’s story, while Get On the Bus is a conglomerate of stories of individuals. In elevating one person’s story to represent the story of a people, I understand the significance of Malcolm X; but what I appreciate more about Lee’s Get On the Bus is that he showcases lives that doesn’t seem to matter in a larger context to be just as important– black lives matter.  Continue reading “Black Lives Matter & Brotherhood”

Double Dolly Troy

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The double dolly shot scene that I will be analyzing is the second one in Crooklyn with Troy and her youngest brother Joseph (1:45:08-1:45:20). The shot appears after the funeral inside Troy’s home. Lee uses the double dolly shot to showcase Troy’s confrontation with the Possums. The purpose of the double dolly shot is to introduce a sense of timelessness, one that removes the audience from the progress of the movie into an experience devoid of temporality and space—at least for a brief, brief moment.

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A White Man’s World

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Malcolm X truly made me question the world that I live in right now. Although I recognize that I live in a world that was constructed by the majority white people, I never thought about how this has informed the way I think and what I deem as right and wrong. But like the way X had a revelation about his world, I believe that Spike Lee wanted every single person watching his films to have the same epiphany.

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Owning the Block

In the opening sequence of Crooklyn, we discussed in class how the kids are the people who “make the world go round”. In fact, not only are the kids the centerpiece in the film, but they also blend the boundaries of property within the neighborhood. The opening sequence shows kids playing many different games around the block; they utilize all the resources they have in the streets– light poles, stairs, the ground etc. The open and public spaces occupied by kids create a sense of boundlessness. No stairs belong to anyone, no street or block is owned by any one person. The neighborhood is owned by the community, and the block is owned by the kids who reside there.  Continue reading “Owning the Block”

Mo’ Better Reds

Bleek Gilliam struggled to maintain the relationships and people around him. He struggled with loyalty, friendship, leadership, and honesty; this was something that the audience clearly perceived. However, it was Spike Lee’s affective structure using color and close-up cuts that established our feelings associated with Bleek’s conflicts throughout the film.  Continue reading “Mo’ Better Reds”

Progression or Regression?

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Inside Man is teeming with interracial racial stereotypes. Unlike some of the other films by Spike Lee, some of the discriminatory statements are very outright and evident. For example, the cop sees Vikram’s turban and shouts “Aw shit, a fucking Arab”, while the hostage claims, “No, I’m a Sikh.” The scene is accompanied by non-diegetic sounds of police officers shouting, “what is that? Is that a bomb?”

In another instant, Detective Frazer talks to Sergeant Collins, Collins says, “This one little spick is getting his clock cleaned by another one.” Frazer calls Collins out and responds, “just do me a favor sergeant and tone down the color commentary”, to which Collins responds with “the nnn— African American kid…”

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Slow Pan

Spike Lee’s use of this slow pan heuristic is intended to re-center and refocus the attention of the audience to the facial features of Mookie and Pino. With the slow motions, audiences observe every single eye movement, every blink, every twitch in the face. Simultaneously, as the audience follows the camera pan, we are entranced by the thoughts that may be going through Mookie and Pino’s minds based off of these facial expressions. The slow motion is intended to capture the audience into the scene, and not merely listening to the words of these characters, but rather, contagiously feeling the contempt and disgust Mookie and Pino are experiencing.

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Doing the Right Thing for Whom?


The 1992 LA riots was a time of empowerment for black Americans fighting for the acquittals of police officers who excessively beat motorist Rodney King. At the same time, this event was also an act of silencing, violence, and victimization for another group: Korean Americans. Spike Lee represented the conflicts of the 1992 Rodney King riots in his film Do the Right Thing by representing the destruction of property and portraying the inter-racial conflicts that arose as a result of the riots.

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