American Cinematheque presents... 

OUT IN THE STREETS’:

THE FILMS OF SPIKE LEE

 

Mon., March 15th - 7:00 PM

New 35 mm print!

MALCOLM X, 1992, Warner Bros., 201 min, Discussion following with Spike Lee.

 

Tuesday, March 16th - 7:00 PM

DO THE RIGHT THING, 1989, Universal (Swank), 120 min.

Tuesday, March 16th - 9:45 PM

 

4 LITTLE GIRLS, 1997, HBO, 102 Min,

Plus, JOE’S BED-STUY BARBERSHOP, 1983, First Run, 60 min.

Wednesday, March 17th - 7:00 PM

 

CROOKLYN, 1994, Universal (Swank), 114 min.

 

Wednesday, March 17th - 9:00 PM

New 35 mm print!

SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT, 1986, Island (New Yorker), 84 min.

 

Thursday, March 18th - 7:00 PM

JUNGLE FEVER, 1991, Universal (Swank), 132 min.

 

Thursday, March 18th - 9:30 PM

Double Feature!

SCHOOL DAZE, 1988, Columbia, 114 min.

 

GIRL 6, 1996, 20th Century Fox, 105 min.

 

 

Friday, March 19th - 7:00 PM

MO’ BETTER BLUES, 1990, Universal (Swank), 127 min.

 

Friday, March 19th - 9:30 PM

CLOCKERS, 1995, Universal (Swank), 128 min.

 

Saturday, March 20th - 6:00 PM

GET ON THE BUS, 1996, Columbia, 120 min.

 

Saturday, March 20th - 8:30 PM

Double Feature!

New 35 mm print!

HE GOT GAME, 1998, Touchstone (Swank), 136 min.

 

FREAK, 1998, HBO, 90 min.

 

OUT IN THE STREETS’:

THE FILMS OF SPIKE LEE

March 15 – 20, 1999

As a writer, director, producer and actor, Brooklyn-born Spike Lee has helped transform the face of American filmmaking. Since his feature film debut in 1986 with SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT -- which jump-started both the American Independent Film scene and the New Black Cinema --, Lee has directed 10 features (including the award-winning documentary 4 LITTLE GIRLS). With a combination of relentless energy, attitude and DIY entrepreneurship (how many filmmakers have their own clothing line??), Lee has established himself as a major critical and commercial force in the industry. (His production company, 40 Acres and A Mule, is still one of the most successful ongoing production outlets on the East Coast.)

With his first short feature, JOE’S BED-STUY BARBERSHOP: WE CUT HEADS and later SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT and the landmark DO THE RIGHT THING, Lee has placed the nature of race relations in America at the center of his frame. Fighting (on-screen and off-) the stereotyping of Blacks in film, Lee injects as much humor (and sensuality) as politics into his movies – Wesley Snipes in JUNGLE FEVER, Denzel Washington in MO’ BETTER BLUES, Theresa Randle in GIRL 6 are all rich, complex characters, navigating their way through a minefield of racial, sexual and emotional issues. Lee has also been underrated for the sheer beauty and cinematic energy of his films – look at DO THE RIGHT THING or the stunning CLOCKERS, and you see an amazing fusion of sound and image, dazzling hip-hop rhythms and supple, expressive camerawork.

Currently, Lee is finishing post-production on his upcoming film SUMMER OF SAM, scheduled for summer release by Touchstone.

 

We’re very pleased to welcome director Spike Lee to the Egyptian Theatre for the first night for this series.

  

Series Compiled by Gwen Deglise

Special Thanks To: Spike Lee, Jason Lampkin/40 ACRES AND A MULE; Jeff Berg/ICM; Terry Curtin/WALT DISNEY; Gray Ainsworth/MGM-UA; Velvet Probert/POLYGRAM; Dick Cook/TOUCHSTONE; Ed Zeier and Merrilee Griffin/UNIVERSAL STUDIOS; Tricia Grave/SWANK MOTION PICTURES; Rebeca Conget/NEW YORKER FILMS; Annie Reiser/FIRST RUN PICTURE; Heidi Kuebler, Leslie Fenady and Marc Solomon/WARNER BROS.; Tim Chandler/HBO; Mike Schlesinger/ COLUMBIA PICTURES REPERTORY; Jan Bilson/20TH CENTURY FOX; UCLA FILM & TELEVISION ARCHIVE.

 

Mon., March 15th - 7:00 PM

Spike Lee In-Person!!

MALCOLM X, 1992, Warner Bros., 201 min. With Angela Albert Hall, Delroy Lindo. Lee’s superb biography of Black leader Malcolm X is his most ambitious and far-reaching film – an epic portrait of Black and White America during the violent years of the 1960’s. Highlighted by brilliant performances from Denzel Washington as the slain Black-rights activist and Angela Bassett as his wife, MALCOLM X also features breathtaking cinematography courtesy of longtime collaborator Ernest Dickerson. Discussion following with director Spike Lee.

 

Tuesday, March 16th - 7:00 PM

DO THE RIGHT THING, 1989, Universal (Swank), 120 min. With Rosie Perez, Ruby Dee, Bill Nunn, Joie Lee. Lee’s hip-hop masterpiece (and arguably the most controversial American film of the past 20 years), DO THE RIGHT THING is also deceptively simple: the story of the hottest summer day in Bedford-Stuyvesant, revolving around the comings and goings at Sal’s Famous Pizzeria. Starring Lee himself as the hyperactive Mookie, with terrific support from Danny Aiello as Sal, Ossie Davis as Da Mayor, Giancarlo Esposito as Buggin’ Out and John Turturro as Pino.

 

Tuesday, March 16th - 9:45 PM

New 35 mm print!

4 LITTLE GIRLS, 1997, HBO, 102 min. Lee’s Academy Award-nominated documentary revisits the nightmarish bombing of a Birmingham, Alabama church in 1963, where four young black girls were killed. A stark, unyielding attack on the legacy of racism in American, 4 LITTLE GIRLS is one of Lee’s most haunting and eloquent films. "I tend to like documentaries where you don’t have a narrator, a voiceover. Just let the people tell the story" -- Lee.

Plus, JOE’S BED-STUY BARBERSHOP: WE CUT HEADS, 1983, First Run Features, 60 min. Lee’s NYU student film shot him to instant acclaim when it was selected for the New Directors/ New Films Festival in New York –- here, he captures a beautiful, ground-zero portrait of the Bed-Stuy neighborhood he would revisit later in DO THE RIGHT THING. Score by Bill Lee.

Wednesday, March 17th - 7:00 PM

CROOKLYN, 1994, Universal (Swank), 114 min. With Alfre Woodard, Delroy Lindo. Co-written with sister Joie and brother Cinque, CROOKLYN is Lee’s most heartfelt (and surprising) film: an autobiographical portrait of the Carmichael family in Brooklyn in the early 1970’s. Featuring a wonderful performance from Zelda Harris as the 9-year old narrator of the film, CROOKLYN is a beautifully-textured look at growing up right and wrong – the emotional flipside to the more explosive DO THE RIGHT THING.

 

Wednesday, March 17th - 9:00 PM

New 35 mm print!

SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT, 1986, Island (New Yorker), 84 min. Shot for $12,000 (!), SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT is a brilliantly-funny, cinema verité look at the sex-life of Nola Darling (Tracy Camila Johns), who definitely isn’t a one man-woman. Lee co-stars as one of Nola’s lovers, "Mars Blackmon" (the name was suggested by Spike’s grandmother!), with fine support from sister Joie Lee as Nola’s ex-roommate. A revelation at the time for its freewheeling spirit and cool-jazz style, SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT is still one of the smartest, sexiest indie films ever made. Babybabybaby, please!!

 

Thursday, March 18th - 7:00 PM

JUNGLE FEVER, 1991, Universal (Swank), 132 min. With Samuel L. Jackson, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, John Turturro, Debi Mazar, Anthony Quinn. Wesley Snipes stars as Flipper Purify, a very married (and very Black) architect who has an affair with his white working-class secretary (Annabella Sciorra) – setting off a firestorm of racial and sexual tensions. Subtitled From Harlem to Bensonhurst and BACK!, JUNGLE FEVER is pure Spike Lee – you can’t imagine any other director making this film. Soundtrack by Stevie Wonder.

 

Thursday, March 18th - 9:30 PM

Double Feature!

SCHOOL DAZE, 1988, Columbia, 114 min. Perhaps Lee’s most underrated movie, SCHOOL DAZE blasts the conspiracy of silence on the prejudice between light- and dark-skinned African Americans in a funny, funky, imaginative musical/comedy/drama. The exhilarating song and dance numbers (choreographed by Otis Sallid) are some of the wildest since the heyday of the Hollywood musical. Of special note is Tisha Campbell’s mindblowing, heartfelt rendition of "I Don’t Want To Be Alone Tonight" – a piece that topples over the edge into the transcendental delirium of unbridled sensuality. With charismatic performances by Larry Fishburne and Giancarlo Esposito.

GIRL 6, 1996, 20th Century Fox, 105 min. Here, Lee depicts a world of constant stimulation where race is removed from the equation because the partners can’t be seen – the phone sex business. "Spike’s answer to the feminists" explodes multi-racial sexual sterotypes as Judy (Theresa Randle) takes an ironic detour on the road to stardom. A brief but intense descent into the phone sex inferno transforms her into Girl 6 where she encounters Madonna and Quentin Tarentino as QT, a hot Hollywood director. Soundtrack by the Artist Formerly Known As Prince.

 

Friday, March 19th - 7:00 PM

MO’ BETTER BLUES, 1990, Universal (Swank), 127 min. Spike gives us his answer to BIRD and AROUND MIDNIGHT, chronicling the jazz career (and complicated love life) of Bleek Gilliam (Denzel Washington, in his richest and most complex performance). Giant (Spike) is the comic sidekick who endangers Bleek’s career, with Indigo (Joie Lee) as the woman who offers him hope for redemption. "I couldn’t let Woody Allen do a jazz film before I did." -- Spike Lee.

 

Friday, March 19th - 9:30 PM

CLOCKERS, 1995, Universal (Swank), 128 min. With Isaiah Washington, Harvey Keitel, John Turturro. In a drug-ridden housing project in Brooklyn, 16 year old "clocker" Strike (Mekhi Phifer) is ready to do anything to prove his loyalty to local drug-king Rodney (Delroy Lindo) -- even kill a rival dealer. Criminally ignored on its release, CLOCKERS may be Spike’s best movie to date – a shattering, vertigo-inducing look at the cycles of urban terror and violence. Based on the acclaimed novel by Richard Price. "Desolate, hallucinatory and fearlessly heartfelt, this is the hood movie to end all hood movies . . . Lee’s riskiest and most accomplished film." – Amy Taubin, Sight and Sound.

 

Saturday, March 20th - 6:00 PM

GET ON THE BUS, 1996, Columbia, 120 min. With DeAundre Bonds, Andre Braugher, Ossie Davis. Lee uses the historic Million Man March on Washington, D.C. to question the nature and state of consciousness of the African American community. GET ON THE BUS unfolds over a three-day journey across America (and across the Black male psyche) -- the 18 men on board are, at first, far from united. But slowly as the drive progresses, through the dissension and the freewheeling discussions, the men slowly become brothers.

 

Saturday, March 20th - 8:30 PM

Double Feature!

New 35 mm print!

HE GOT GAME, 1998, Touchstone (Swank), 136 min. Famous for his Nike commercials with Michael Jordan, b-ball fan Spike takes a brilliant, hard-edged look at the real value of sports and family ties in HE GOT GAME – Denzel Washington stars as Jake Shuttlesworth, doing time for accidentally killing his wife. He’ll see his sentence reduced if he can persuade his son Jesus (Ray Allen), the number one high school basketball player in America, to sign with the Governor’s High School.

FREAK, 1998, HBO, 90 min. Spike directed this version of John Leguizamo’s one-man show for HBO – here, Leguizamo tackles (with hilarious, manic energy) the pros and cons of growing up Latino in America. A terrific collaboration from two unique and unpredictable talents --

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