Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq and two Euro pundits contribute to anarchy.
(The National Review)
Every Spike Lee film is a piece of agitprop, but few of them are entertaining. His newest, Chi-Raq, fails at both goals. The reasons why are as infuriating as today’s uninformative headlines.
Instead of documenting the reality of Chicago as murder city, Lee flaunts fancy poster-art polemics — nothing like Jean-Luc Godard’s ingenious graphics, which made Pop Art of Sixties politics; just rants in gaudy colors and ostentatious fonts. With a Madison Avenue inclination for marketing stronger than his social consciousness, Lee once again bases his conceit and his title on urban slang. It comes from Chicago hipsters who sardonically refer to their home town as “Chi-Raq” — alluding to the city’s high murder rate matching war-zone casualties in Iraq, which have come to define millennial pandemonium. This crisis is the basis for Chi-Raq’s plot gimmick — an approximation of Aristophanes’ 411 b.c. drama Lysistrata.
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