The “Zolly” Effect and Misconception

Most recognize the “dolly zoom” — also known as the “zolly” shot — from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” (1958). This camera effect creates an aesthetic that works to unsettle the viewer, distorting the background objects around the subject without changing the scale of the subject itself. Continue reading “The “Zolly” Effect and Misconception”

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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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.

Inside Message in Inside Man


While it is easy to watch Spike Lee’s Inside Man as an entertaining-bank-heist thriller, it is interesting to note that Lee still uses the entertaining storyline to make comments about race in America. In a “blink and you’ll miss it” type of moment, I noticed that the pizzas that are delivered to the bank are from our favorite Bed-Stuy pizza joint: Sal’s.

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Continue reading “Inside Message in Inside Man”

Inside Man: The Interrogations

Inside Man was Spike Lee’s blockbuster (now in the critically acclaimed section on Netflix), and one that didn’t seem specifically FUBU. He very successfully put two black people as leads in the film without it becoming a “black movie”, though I would argue that Denzel has surpassed (for the most part) being just a black guy. And since the movie was about a bank heist, and the story focused exclusively on that while highlighting a typically diverse New York, he was further able to get away with this. I liked the movie, and enjoyed seeing it to its conclusion. Despite a little predictability, a.k.a Washington’s character ending up with the ring he needed, I thought it was well done. This was the first movie I had seen Spike Lee talk about a different political issue, i.e. the Holocaust and the people who benefited wrongly from it, and I thought that was also well done. The only part where I saw a little peek of what I see in some of his other movies was the scene where the guy in the turban is treated very poorly and assumed to have a bomb, and is then refused his turban. Even after he is searched, he isn’t given it back. Why? Spike Lee leaves us, (or maybe just me, I don’t know), this Easter egg and it stayed with me to the end.