Summer of Spike

Summer of Spike


Please note: this season finished in Aug 2018

"Elvis was a hero to most
But he never meant s@*t to me you see
Straight up racist that sucker was
Simple and plain
Mother f@*k him and John Wayne.”
- Lyrics from Fight the Power by Public Enemy

Thus via the music of Public Enemy and images and story courtesy of Spike Lee, Do the Right Thing, one of the great films of the latter part of last century, confronted white mainstream culture with a hip hop strident Black perspective and established one of the most distinctive filmmaking voices in American cinema. And what an angry, uncompromising, entertaining voice it is... Since the groundbreaking incendiary culture clash of 1988's Do the Right Thing, Spike Lee's body of work has carved out an important space for stories of black experience and shared them into the wider mainstream of not only American culture but also internationally.

The name of his company 40 Acres and a Mule - referring to the promise made to former enslaved black farmers - set the tone of Lee’s mission: to surface the Black American experience and project it onto the wider public. His films have ranged from the interracial/cultural relationships of Jungle Fever to the celebration of jazz culture in Mo’ Better Blues. From melancholic, semi-autobiographical comedy-dramas about the African-American family in Crooklyn, to biopics of Black activist Malcolm X and hard hitting documentaries such Four Little Girls and Until the Levee Breaks. All the time Lee has engaged film audiences in the culture and politics of Black American experience whilst providing an important platform for Black talent in front and behind the camera.

With his new film Lee shows no sign of quietening down: BlacKkKlansman is a hugely entertaining full frontal assault on Trump’s America through the prism of the extraordinary true 1970s story of a black detective who infiltrated the Klu Klux Klan. To complement the film’s opening throughout August we'll be revisiting four films from Spike Lee's extraordinary body of work as well as welcoming him on Mon 20 Aug, via satellite, for a preview and Q&A of BlacKkKlansman.

Previous screenings in this season

Jungle Fever  18   Summer of Spike

Jungle Fever
Please note: This was screened in Aug 2018
A successful African-American architect embarks on a perilous affair with an Italian-American secretary causing tension and turmoil in their respective communities in Spike Lee's captivating take on interracial romance.

Crooklyn  12   Summer of Spike

Please note: This was screened in Aug 2018
This melancholic, semi-autobiographical comedy-drama about an African-American family is Spike Lee’s sentimental remembrance of growing up in 1970s Brooklyn, centering on a young girl as she struggles to have a voice in her large, loud, and sometimes embarrassing family.

Mo' Better Blues  15   Summer of Spike

Mo' Better Blues
Please note: This was screened in Aug 2018
Denzel Washington stars as a self-centred jazz trumpeter whose single-minded ambition alienates everyone who cares about him in Spike Lee’s striking drama full of vigorous, stylish camerawork and a killer jazz score.

Do The Right Thing  15   Summer of Spike

Do The Right Thing
Please note: This was screened in Aug 2018
One of the defining works of American independent cinema, Spike Lee’s incendiary look at race relations in America circa 1989 remains a pulsating homage to life on New York's streets and maybe the best film ever made about race in America.