4 Little Girls

4 Little Girls

4.0 3
Director: Spike Lee

Cast: Spike Lee, Helen Pegues, Bill Cosby, Walter Cronkite

     
 

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Director Spike Lee made his first feature-length documentary with this powerful story of the bombing of an African-American church in Birmingham, AL, in 1963, which took the lives of four girls, ages 11 through 14. The shocking incident received national press attention and became a rallying point in the ongoing struggle for civil rights, but while Lee's film examines… See more details below

Overview

Director Spike Lee made his first feature-length documentary with this powerful story of the bombing of an African-American church in Birmingham, AL, in 1963, which took the lives of four girls, ages 11 through 14. The shocking incident received national press attention and became a rallying point in the ongoing struggle for civil rights, but while Lee's film examines the crime, the perpetrators, and the long struggle to bring them to justice, it also offers a close look at the four girls themselves as their friends and families recall, in moving detail, who they were and how they lived. A variety of civil rights activists, politicians, journalists, and lawyers are interviewed onscreen, including Walter Cronkite and a brief but disturbing meeting with former Alabama governor George Wallace.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Pete Segall
Spike Lee is easily America's most confrontational filmmaker: Didactic, bombastic, and often as subtle as a sledgehammer to the face. His films, often standoffs on the impossible issue of race in America, are so hyper-realized that it's difficult to ignore them. A strain of truth runs through Lee's best work -- the visions of Brooklyn past and present in Crooklyn and Do the Right Thing, the strange life of a hero in Malcolm X, and the bizarre entanglements of fatherhood and basketball in He Got Game. However, Lee attains a heretofore hidden level of fierce restraint when dealing with nonfictional material in his first documentary, 4 Little Girls, a harrowing, angry film about a church bombing in Birmingham in 1963 that killed four black children. The bombing -- a crime so brutal as to give the entire nation pause -- was a watershed incident that galvanized the civil rights movement. But 4 Little Girls is more about the pain of losing daughters than the politics of making martyrs. That a raving Ku Klux Klansman is eventually convicted for the crime does not lessen the film's impact at all. Lee interviews family members, parishioners, witnesses, and, perhaps most stirringly, former Alabama governor and vitriolic segregationist George Wallace, now weakened by age and a series of strokes and reliant on a black personal assistant. This is by far Lee's quietest film and, save for Do the Right Thing, his most affecting.
All Movie Guide - Tom Wiener
A great subject gets the filmmaker it deserves. Spike Lee had long wanted to make a film about the horrific September 1963 bombing of Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church, and perhaps it was best that he had to wait. Reportedly, many of the victims' relatives were not prepared to discuss on camera the events of that day until some time had passed. What is gained is not only their participation but also a sense of perspective. In a time when you can read almost daily of terrorist bombings in other areas of the world, as well as reflect on the events of September 11, 2001, 4 Little Girls returns to an era you thought was much more innocent and reveals that the evil that would attack innocent children in the name of racial (or ethnic or religious) superiority has been and still is in this country. Wisely, Lee lets the subject matter do the talking here and does not resort to stylistic tricks to embellish his presentation. The film's most jarring sequence is an interview with former Gov. George Wallace, who clearly is struggling to understand the legacy of hatred his political career nourished and encouraged.

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Product Details

Release Date:
01/12/1999
UPC:
0026359147838
Original Release:
1997
Rating:
NR
Source:
Hbo Home Video

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