25th Hour Montage: Continuation of Do The Right Thing

 

In the most famous scene from Lee’s 2002 film, 25th Hour, Edward Norton’s character goes on to to curse out every single race and creed in New York City in a montage that people have read as a love/hate letter to all New Yorkers.

Continue reading “25th Hour Montage: Continuation of Do The Right Thing”

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”

Inside Man: A Spike Lee Joint? (Amal & Heru’s Midterm)

Part 1: Sal’s Pizza…

Given Spike Lee’s past usages of physical spaces as microcosms of larger societal issues, Inside Man’s bank and all power dynamics within said bank deserve analysis. It was no mistake that Lee referenced Do the Right Thing when “Sal’s Famous Pizza” was brought to the hostages.

Dalton Russell gave his hostages the same costumes as his co-conspirators, attempting to create confusion for the police because it was hard to tell the “good guys” from the “bad”. However, in one scene, after the police get hold of a sikh hostage, they make no effort to treat him fairly even when he’s mask-less. This speaks to a possible larger point Lee is making about citizens in relation to police. Are we faceless in the name of state power?

Continue here. (password: “dialogue”)

Be a f***in’ man, Mookie: Depictions of Male and Female Characters in SL Joints

Follow this link to listen to Thomas M., Danielle F., Nisaa J., and Nicholas M.’s commentary on an important scene in Do the Right Thing which provides an entree into discussion about Spike Lee’s portrayal of both men and women in his films.

Please turn on English subtitles for transcript of inaudible commentary from 0:50 – 2:24

Pillars of Affective Strength

The women in Do The Right Thing are so stereotyped that their supposed allegories  dominate their identity to the point where character development is loss. Characters such as Mother Sister, Jade, and Tina (Mookie’s baby mama) all signify both stereotypes of women of color and work as prophetic storytellers for the men in their lives. Their dialogues and roles revolve around typical preconceived notions of women, meaning these women are usually forgiving, caring, and committed to the men and children in their life. Following these stereotypes up, these women also fulfill preconceived notions of women of color: they are bold in speech, strong, and stubborn. They especially exemplify these qualities when they are around the men in their lives. Mother Sister is always strong and stubborn with Da Mayor, Tina is always stubborn and bold with Mookie, and Jade is also always bold and stubborn with Mookie. The women offer interesting and different perspectives to their male counterparts but they are always seeped in “women of color stereotypes” that sometimes make their commentary less effective in message. For example, Tina will be screaming at Mookie so much that the viewer will pay less attention to what she is saying and more to her outward emotional appearance.

This could perhaps be the point though, that what they say is not so important as how they say it. I think Spike Lee likes the “aesthetics” of black women and finds a special comfort in their strength, how they don’t take nonsense from anyone. So much so that he wrote Mother Sister, Jade, and Tina’s roles for the purpose of providing specific kind of emotional support for the men in their lives.

 

 

Representation of Women in Spike Lee Films

I think do the right thing is a great film however after watching and analyzing this film a question that arose in my head was what do the women in this film represent. In the film do the right thing, I think all of the women represented in the film are allegorical, stereotypical and troupes of sorts. My question is why? What is spike trying to say about black women in the film and outside of the film. The first women character I analyzed in this film and primarily helped me come to the conclusion that spike lee is lacking in his writing of women character is Mother Sister from the movie do the right thing, she stereotypically represents and perpetuates the narrative of black women’s domesticity, care taking, subservience and suffering. One thing I over looked that is a telling detail in support of my critique of women’s representation in Lee films is her name! Mother Sister, the name fulfills exactly what it is supposed to,it is a title that tells of the role that she plays within her community as a black woman. In an ending scene mother sister can be seen taking care of Mayor a neighborhood man who is laying in bed with a look of distress on his face after one of the neighborhoods most beloved youth is killed. Immediately preceding that scene in the film we are immersed in a scene where the mother of spike Lee’s child in the film is angry after an argument they just had about his absence from his sons life. During the argument she does most of the screaming/talking (rightfully so) but how does this portray her to the audience as an angry black woman and a single mother again another stereotypical role for a black woman in his film.

Trippin’

What do we do when we see someone stumble? As for me, when it happens, I first hope that they’re okay (or at least I believe this about myself :B). Then, provided they are unharmed, I hope to laugh together with the person at what we both know was visually amusing. I apply this to my skateboarding falls/fails. Falling is an occupational hazard when one does something that requires balance. Standing and walking are the same. Conversation and dialogue are analogous. Continue reading “Trippin’”