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Spike Lee's 'Red Hook Summer' Gets A 14-Minute Haircut + New Synopsis

by Tambay A. Obenson
June 15, 2012 5:00 PM
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Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock... as I noted in an post earlier this week... time is flying on by, as the theatrical release date for Spike Lee's latest work, Red Hook Summer, fast approaches. August 10 to be exact, almost exactly 2 months from today; it seems like it was just yesterday that I saw the film at the Sundance Film Festival, where it caused a bit of a stir (my review HERE if you missed it).

The August 10 release will happen in partnership with Variance Films, and will later be distributed on all domestic non-theatrical platforms via Image Entertainment

And as I expected, the usual early PR/marketing campaign that accompanies most film releases, will soon get underway, with screenings for the press being scheduled for late-July, per the email I received today.

In reading over the email, the first thing that immediately got my attention was the film's listed running time. Why? Well, if you recall my April interview with Variance Films chief Dylan Marchetti, you'll remember he revealed that Red Hook Summer had gone through some edits, specifically saying:

I can say this - the film is tighter now.  In that sense, if you saw the film at Sundance you really haven't seen the film yet.  But without giving anything away, absolutely no key scenes have been removed from the film, and it's going to be just as intense and controversial as the cut you saw at Sundance... probably more so.

Click HERE to read the rest of that interview if you haven't.

So of course, remembering that he'd said that, when I saw the listed running time of the new version of the film, in the email I received earlier today - 121 minutes - I immediately knew that it was shorter than the version I saw at Sundance, which was 135 minutes.

So 14 minutes have been shaved off. Which 14 minutes, exactly? We'll just have to wait and find out, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what the end product now looks like, as well as what the critical response will be after scheduled press screenings take place.

Within the email, there's also what I believe is a new synopsis, which reads:

The latest in Spike Lee’s Chronicles of Brooklyn anthology - which also includes "She's Gotta Have It" (1986), "Do The Right Thing" (1989), "Crooklyn" (1994), "Clockers" (1995), and "He Got Game" (1998) - RED HOOK SUMMER tells the story of Flik Royale (Jules Brown), a sullen young boy from middle-class Atlanta who has come to spend the summer with his deeply religious grandfather, Bishop Enoch Rouse (Clarke Peters), in the housing projects of Red Hook. Having never met before, things quickly get off on the wrong foot as Bishop Enoch relentlessly attempts to convert Flik into a follower of Jesus Christ. Between his grandfather’s constant preaching and the culture shock of inner-city life, Flik’s summer appears to be a total disaster - until he meets Chazz Morningstar (Toni Lysaith), a pretty girl his age, who shows Flik the brighter side of Brooklyn. Through her love and the love of his grandfather, Flik begins to realize that the world is a lot bigger, and perhaps a lot better, than he’d ever imagined.

I expect this will be one of those Spike Lee films that divide audiences. You'll either love it, or you'll loathe it, even with the new cut, which I'm sure will still maintain the essence of the film.

Of course a review of the current version will follow.

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More: Spike Lee, Red Hook Summer

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  • Katie | June 18, 2012 5:57 PMReply

    Personally, I can't wait to see.

  • YeaIsaidIt | June 18, 2012 5:39 PMReply

    Can't wait to see this. Been a fan of Spike Lee's film-making ever since the late 80's
    when he came out with "Do the Right Thing" and it sounds like this film is taking him back to his roots.

  • lauren | June 18, 2012 10:54 AMReply

    So not gonna' see this one!

  • James Evans from the Cabrini-Green | June 17, 2012 8:42 PMReply

    Pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass.

  • BluTopaz | June 16, 2012 1:20 PMReply

    "and it's going to be just as intense and controversial as the cut you saw at Sundance... probably more so."

    I know Spike is a hell raiser for a while now, but why is "controversial" now a synonym for edgy, thought provoking, etc. I don't know if he means this as merely as a description or selling point, but maybe he figured out a pedophile preacher is (unfortunately) not as shocking as it used to be. So he's made it more "controversial"

  • Jeremy | June 16, 2012 10:38 AMReply


  • Dankwa Brooks | June 15, 2012 6:46 PMReply

    I still can't wait either! I also want to say, I read this news elsewhere earlier, but I had to come to S&A to see what my people say. I do that for all the entertainment news that pertains to black folk. Yeah so & so newspaper/website has the story too, but what my people say?

  • Dankwa Brooks | June 17, 2012 12:06 AM


  • aswilliams | June 16, 2012 3:55 PM

    Hey Dankwa, I`m the same way looking for the reaction from my people about news too. I would say great minds think alike.

  • Curtis | June 15, 2012 5:28 PMReply

    Interesting. I haven't seen the film but based on the Sundance reviews I think you're right that this will be a polarizing Spike Lee joint. Can't wait! LOL

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