Spike Lee, a too committed character?
On 20 March, Spike Lee will celebrate his 60th birthday. An opportunity for all moviegoers to relive their 37 years of work and combat.
The rise of Martin Luther King
67 years after the Titanic sank, Spike Lee unveils his first short film, Last Hustle in Brooklyn. Two other short films before his debut feature Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads. But it was with his third film Do The Rights Thing that Spike Lee met with success in 1989. He was committed to the cause of the blacks and received several awards such as Best Director at the Chicago Film Critics Association in 1990. Also the first film that Michelle and Barack Obama were seeing as a lover. Some sixty projects, such as documentaries, television series and feature films, followed. Spike is now a versatile director.
Throughout his life, he will not cease to take the side of the black population which he finds too discriminated, too judged too insulted. The film She’s Gotta Have It released in 1986, is very important in its cinema. Indeed, it is the very first film in which one finds black educated urbanites. To believe that 18 years after the assassination of the famous noble black pastor, no director had thought to give a real good idea of an intelligent black. We finally came out of the Montgomery (50s and 60s) of cinema.
In 1992, Biopic Malcolm X was released in theaters. This famous Muslim preacher who supported the cause of African Americans in the United States government by accusing him is embodied by Denzel Washington. It is a film that has made it known to the general public and has given rise to much debate.
The director who introduced Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Halle Berry and John Turturro also directed a few documentaries about athlete Jim Brown, the Katrina disaster, and Mickael Jackson. He will make two of these clips for the latter; In 1996 and then in 2009 on the music This Is It, the first posthumous title of the King of Pop.
Spike Lee does not like spaghetti with Tarantino sauce
Reservoir Dogs, Jackie Brown, Pulp Fiction or Django Unchained are as many movies as the American-Cameroonian director is repugnant. He accuses his creator of using excessively the word “niggers” in his films. It is true that the racist connotation of this word is more violent in the English version than in the French version. Quentin replied at a press conference by insulting him of “son of a bitch”. Their collaboration on the film Girl6 is not ready to renew itself.
For his film Iwo Jima recounting the battle of the same name, Clint Eastwood was arrested by Spike Lee. Blaming him for not putting forward the contribution of soldiers of his skin color, Joe Le Bon replies saying they have not planted the American flag. He adds, “When I make a film and it’s 90% black, like Bird, then I take 90% black actors.”
Positive waves for the future
After years of battle for his skin color, he won the Oscar of Honor in 2016 alongside Jackie Chan. In the same period, he talks about proposing quotas in Hollywood to break down stereotypes and bring minorities back on the screens.
In November, he made a short musical film for the fashion house Moncler. He staged a black singer mixing fashion, colors on a very dynamic montage.
In 2017, it plans a documentary Go Brasil Go! As well as a series for NetFlix named She’s Gotta Have It taken from his 1986 film.
Let us hope that for the following decades, the struggle for a cosmopolitan world will endure …