Spike Lee's America

Overview

Spike Lee has directed, written, produced, and acted in dozensof films that present an expansive, nuanced, proudly opinionated,and richly multifaceted portrait of American society. As the onlyAfrican-American filmmaker ever to establish a world-class career,Lee has paid acute attention to the experiences of racial andethnic minorities. But white men and women also play importantroles in his movies, and his interest in class, race, and urbanlife hasn?t prevented his films from ranging over broadswaths of the ...

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Overview

Spike Lee has directed, written, produced, and acted in dozensof films that present an expansive, nuanced, proudly opinionated,and richly multifaceted portrait of American society. As the onlyAfrican-American filmmaker ever to establish a world-class career,Lee has paid acute attention to the experiences of racial andethnic minorities. But white men and women also play importantroles in his movies, and his interest in class, race, and urbanlife hasn’t prevented his films from ranging over broadswaths of the American scene in stories as diverse as the audienceswho view them. His defining trait is a willingness to raise hardquestions about contemporary America without pretending to haveeasy answers; his pictures are designed to challenge and provokeus, not ease our minds or pacify our emotions. The opening words ofhis 1989 masterpiece Do the Right Thing present his coremessage in two emphatic syllables: “Wake up!”

Spike Lee’s America is a vibrant and provocativeengagement not only with the work of a great filmmaker, but alsowith American society and politics.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Though he comes to praise Lee's oeuvre, Sterrit is even-handedwith both critics and director."
TheIndependent

"Perfectly readable, mercifully free of cliched characterisationsof the director as an 'angry black man' - and informative enough torecommend as a reference tool for Spike beginners."
Sight & Sound

"Writing perceptively about class, race and recent US history (aswell as the movies) Sterritt steers refreshingly far from theacademic waffle that can plague this kind of book, and builds areasoned portrait of one of America's punchiestcommentators."
Total Film

"An optimal introduction to the career of one of America’smost prominent filmmakers."
25fps

"Not just an interesting read, the book is also a great educationalresource for film students, and a truly excellent map for exploringone of the major genres of African-American film-making."
Historical Journal of Film, Radio andTelevision

"My admiration for Spike Lee has always been substantial, butthanks to this book I now admire him even more. Although DavidSterritt does not blink at the many dilemmas the films present, hehas greatly enriched our appreciation as well as our understandingof Spike Lee's cinema."
Krin Gabbard, Stony Brook University

"Since his filmmaking debut in the mid-eighties, Spike Lee hasbecome one of the most influential African American directors ofthe twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Through clear and cogentprose, David Sterritt also illustrates what makes Lee one of thefinest American filmmakers working today."
Paula Massood, Brooklyn College
 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745651828
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 1/14/2013
  • Series: PALS-Polity America Through the Lens Series, #2
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

David Sterritt is Chair of the National Society of Film Critics and Professor at Columbia University and the Maryland Institute College of Art.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements viii

Introduction: Challenging Questions, No Easy Answers 1

1 The Early Joints 13

2 The Right Thing and the Love Supreme 41

3 Deeper into Politics 90

4 Brownstones in the Nabe, Projects in the Hood 117

5 Women and Men, Blacks and Whites 135

6 Crime, War, Miracles 167

Epilogue: Expanding Horizons 190

Notes 194

Filmography 203

References 229

Index 245

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