From a Spike Lee trilogy, to a trilogy of postscript-thoughts regarding and/or inspired by his Bad 25 that didn’t fit in last week’s piece:
UNO: Bad 25 landed smack-dab in the middle of Obama’s presidency. How is that relevant? Well, for a director who’s spent much of his career exploring the black experience in America, and after making what I consider to be the seminal cinematic text of the Bush years (2006’s When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts), it’s interesting how few of his movies explicitly reference the first non-white administration. If anything, Spike circumvented traditional celebrations, perhaps because he understood how much work still lay ahead that couldn’t be solved overnight by the occupant of the White House no longer looking like the building’s name and exterior; both of his most overtly-political feature-lengths from 2008-2016, If God Is Willing and da Creek Don’t Rise (2010) and Chi-Raq (2015), detail the problems facing these still DisUnited States.
DOS: As much as it pains me to potentially bolster boob-tubing, last week’s suggestion could easily translate to episodic storytelling; choose a classic album, devote one episode to each of its songs, and there we have it!
TRES: Hopefully what they don’t have is one of my most personally-irksome documentary cliches, a problem that besets filmmaking of all kinds: zooming in on crying faces. This hammy device is supposed to bring us closer to the emotions…but instead, the reverse happens; the regurgitated artificiality takes me out of the moment.