Bleek’s Gravitational Pull

From 21:08-21:44, Spike Lee places us in Bleek’s gravitational pull. Lee strategically uses the circular motion in Bleek’s trumpet practice and places him in the center to signify his internal psychology. Through the movement of this sequence, Bleek confronts his audience with his intimate relationship with his instrument, breaks the fourth wall, and acknowledges the audience with intention and directness that translates to a power dynamic that disintegrates as the movie continues. Continue reading “Bleek’s Gravitational Pull”

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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”)

Midterm: Embrace Brotherhood

This post is about embracing brotherhood and where are black males allowed to show intimacy and have difficult conversations in School Daze and today.

Not too long ago, actor Michael B. Jordan and director Ryan Cooler appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair for their role as “disrupters revolutionizing art, film, and fashion”. In the photo, Jordan extends his arm and uses his hand to hold the back of Coogler’s hand. The image is also to promote solidarity between brotherhood. Black masculinity does not just mean large muscles and deep gazes. Yet, the image received backlash, especially from black males on twitter before the tweets were removed. These tweets emasculated the men, such as:

“The pose insinuates a man dominating another man. He’s palming his head.” – @Fettimagazine

“Why is he holding his head like that anyway? What type of unity does this suggest? It does look a little suspect. Looks almost like he has his head headed towards his **** How about a simple handshake?” -@Mizzlee_atl

style-disrupters-derek-blasberg-michael-b-jordan-ryan-coogler

Is it possible for Black males to show solidarity in brotherhood without the image or concept becoming over sexualized? Continue reading “Midterm: Embrace Brotherhood”

Mistakes in Mo’ Better Blues

 

Spike Lee’s characters are often times complex and ambiguous. Think of Sal from Do The Right Thing, or Delacroix from Bamboozled. Lee’s characters have warped or misguided views based on their history and upbringing. Despite these views, audience members can connect with them on a certain level because Lee redeems their misgivings by shining light on their humaneness in certain aspects of each film. Two characters that really stood out to me in Mo’ Better Blues are Moe and Josh Flatbush. These characters stood out not in their mistakes or their humanity, but rather their mechanical and almost cartoonish nature.

Lee's opening shot of the Flatbush brothers in front of a computer is fitting as he portrays them as robots who only care about the bottom line (28:02).
Lee’s opening shot of the Flatbush brothers in front of a computer is fitting as they are shown to be robotic and only care about the bottom line (28:02).

Continue reading “Mistakes in Mo’ Better Blues”

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