Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Eddie Redmayne & Alicia Vikander Feature In Beautiful First Posters For Transgender Drama ‘The Danish Girl’ Eddie Redmayne & Alicia Vikander Feature In Beautiful First Posters For Transgender Drama ‘The Danish Girl’ New Images Of Kristen Stewart In Stoner Comedy 'American Ultra' And Sci-Fi 'Equals' New Images Of Kristen Stewart In Stoner Comedy 'American Ultra' And Sci-Fi 'Equals' Watch: First Trailer For Serial Killer Thriller 'Solace' Starring Anthony Hopkins And Colin Farrell Watch: First Trailer For Serial Killer Thriller 'Solace' Starring Anthony Hopkins And Colin Farrell Watch: Full Length 'Making Batman Begins' Doc, Christopher Nolan Talks Legacy Of Film On 10th Anniversary Watch: Full Length 'Making Batman Begins' Doc, Christopher Nolan Talks Legacy Of Film On 10th Anniversary ‘Game Of Thrones’ Will Probably End After Season 8, But HBO Is Open To Prequels & More ‘Game Of Thrones’ Will Probably End After Season 8, But HBO Is Open To Prequels & More Relativity Puts 'Jane Got A Gun' And More Up For Sale As They Fight Off Bankruptcy Relativity Puts 'Jane Got A Gun' And More Up For Sale As They Fight Off Bankruptcy Zack Snyder Says Batman Has A "Crisis Of Conscience" In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Plus New Pics Zack Snyder Says Batman Has A "Crisis Of Conscience" In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Plus New Pics Venice 2015 Line-Up: 'Equals' With Kristen Stewart, 'Beasts Of No Nation,' 'The Danish Girl,' More Venice 2015 Line-Up: 'Equals' With Kristen Stewart, 'Beasts Of No Nation,' 'The Danish Girl,' More Watch: 4-Minute Tribute To Lars von Trier's Masterful Film Work Watch: 4-Minute Tribute To Lars von Trier's Masterful Film Work New 'Deadpool' Images, Ryan Reynolds Distances Himself From 'X-Men: Origins' New 'Deadpool' Images, Ryan Reynolds Distances Himself From 'X-Men: Origins' TIFF Images: Emma Watson In 'Colonia,' Brie Larson In 'Room,' Charlie Kaufman's 'Anomalisa' And More TIFF Images: Emma Watson In 'Colonia,' Brie Larson In 'Room,' Charlie Kaufman's 'Anomalisa' And More Watch: Blu-Ray Trailer For 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron' Plus 11 New Clips From The Film Watch: Blu-Ray Trailer For 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron' Plus 11 New Clips From The Film The 10 Best And 5 Worst Tom Cruise Performances The 10 Best And 5 Worst Tom Cruise Performances Watch: New Trailer For 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Blu-ray Release Explores Who Killed The World Watch: New Trailer For 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Blu-ray Release Explores Who Killed The World The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 So Far The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 10 All-Time Best Episodes Of 'Parks And Recreation' The 10 All-Time Best Episodes Of 'Parks And Recreation' The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki

Spike Lee & Cast Talk 'Do The Right Thing' At BAM 25th Anniversary Screening

The Playlist By Eloise Banting | The Playlist July 2, 2014 at 12:41PM

Walking the streets of Brooklyn now is quite a different experience than it was, say, about 25 years ago. Or is it? One might posit the same issues are still here, just repackaged. And based on the detailed representation of this urbanized-gentrified-evolving city in Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing,” the filmmaker wouldn’t disagree.
0
The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences And BAMcinematek Present A 25th Anniversary Screening Of "Do The Right Thing" In New York
Getty Images for The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences

Walking the streets of Brooklyn now is quite a different experience than it was, say, about 25 years ago. Or is it? One might posit the same issues are still here, just repackaged. And based on the detailed representation of this urbanized-gentrified-evolving city in Spike Lee’sDo The Right Thing,” the filmmaker wouldn’t disagree.

At this weekend's screening of the film sponsored by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lee was present with the cast to answer a few questions and look back on this Bed-Stuy-based classic. Not only did they talk about the making of the movie, but where Brooklyn is headed if we keep ignoring the issues of racism and inequality that have been here since (at least), well, the first day “Do The Right Thing” began shooting. Lee discussed several inspirations for the film, including those who lost their lives in the police brutality cases, the many who are still held back because of Brooklyn’s racial climate, and the economic culture of the city that is still very much the same as it was all those years ago. Moderated by Khalil Gibran Muhammad, director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the evening was a mix of reflections about the movie, but also its social impact and how it still reflects the problems in our culture today.

The context of the social and racial climate of the time came up fast, and Lee said the inspiration for the film was all around him, noting “It's Howard Beach, it's Yusef Hawkins, it's Bensonhurst, it's Mayor Ed Koch, there you go, Eleanor Bumpers, Michael Stewart, all of that stuff was happening at the time in New York City." Muhammad also brought up the the Central Park 5 case of April 1989 that found five African-American teenagers arrested and eventually convicted for allegedly raping a white woman; the convictions were overturned decades later after the men had served 18 years in jail.

The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences And BAMcinematek Present A 25th Anniversary Screening Of "Do The Right Thing" In New York
Getty Images for The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences

“Yep, and Donald Trump put a full page ad in the New York Times for a million dollar reward leading to the rest of the perpetrators who raped the woman,” Lee said, still sounding angry. “People forget that he took out a full page ad in New York Times, Google it.” [The quintent were finally exonerated and just a few weeks ago were given a $40 million settlement between the five of them.]

“That was the racial hysteria of New York City at that time,” Lee said. “And many critics—Joe Klein, David Denby—said this film was going cause race riots all across America...they thought this film was going make black people run amuck and riot.”

“That’s pure racism,” he added. “That African Americans would go to movies, and not have the intelligence to make the distinction from what’s on screen and what’s real life. How many white Americans have seen Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Terminator” films? But we African Americans, we don’t have the 'intelligence' for that ... and they thought this film would entice Black folks to riot. And that was the climate at that time. Google it. Read those reviews.”

This article is related to: Do The Right Thing, BAMcinematek, Spike Lee


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates