Topic: 35mm Screening of Do The Right Thing Feb 18 @ The Plaza
Do the Right Thing (1989)
Thursday, February 18 at 7pm
The Plaza Theatre, 1133 Kensington Road NW
$12 General Admission / $10 Members/Students/Seniors
35mm / Colour / 120 mins
To Celebrate Black History month, The Calgary Cinematheque is pleased to present a twentieth anniversary screening of Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing.
Spike Lee's racial and political filmmaking bent is given the full treatment with this simmering exposÃ© of racial tensions in a New York City neighborhood one scorching summer day. The film, written by Lee (and nominated for an Oscar), follows a group of racially diverse inhabitants from Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood as they spend their day trying to avoid the oppressive heat. These include African American pizza deliveryman Mookie (Lee), the racially sensitive Buggin' Out (Giancarlo Esposito), and the silent, boom-box-blasting Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn). Also thrown into the mix are Sal (an Oscar-nominated Danny Aiello), the Italian-American proprietor of Sal's Pizzeria, as well as his two sons, Pino (John Turturro) and Vito (Richard Edson), who hold completely opposing attitudes when it comes to race. After Buggin' Out tries to organize a boycott of Sal's because of the lack of racial diversity on his shop's Wall of Fame, the tensions explode in an act of senseless violence.
Lee's film is an electric work of political entertainment that confronts sensitive racial issues head-on. He deftly blends humor and drama as well as using specific music to further amplify his theme (Public Enemy's song "Fight the Power" actually becomes the film's main catalyst for action). Boldly closing the film with opposing quotes from Malcolm X and Martin Luther King on the nature of race relations, Lee leaves it up to the viewer to decide if Mookie's actions were the correct ones. Aiello and Esposito are standouts in an all-star cast that includes Lee himself, his sister Joie, "discovery" Rosie Perez, and the married team of Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. Always one to spark controversy, Lee's summer drama finds the filmmaker at the peak of his craft. Lee received a Best Original Screenplay Oscar nomination for Do the Right Thing.
Lee was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and moved at a very young age to Brooklyn, New York. Raised in a family that nurtured his creative interests - his father was a jazz musician, and his mother, a school teacher - his mother dubbed him Spike, due to his tough nature. Lee developed his film making skills at Clark Atlanta University then went on to the Tisch School of Arts film program at NYU. His first feature film, She's Gotta Have It, established Lee as one of the most promising young directors of the 1980s. He has since directed over a dozen films, and has been honored for his work at numerous film festivals.
A movie made by filmmaker working in sync with his timesâ€”an exciting, disturbing, provocative film.Hal Hinson, Washington Post Do the Right Thing is one of the best-directed, best-made films of our time, a film in which the technical credits, the acting, and Lee's brazenly fresh visual style all work together to make a statement about race in America that is all the more powerful because it blindsides us.Roger Ebert, The Criterion Collection