Thursday, August 19, 2010

“If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise''

Last Tuesday I went to the Spike Lee follow up film premiere to "When the levee's broke." The movie premier was held at the Mahalia Jackson Theatre and had a pretty important audience. People such as the mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu, representatives, doctors, activist, and more. Along with them was the producer himself, Spike Lee. He decided to show only two hours this time as oppose to the whole four hours like last time.

As the crowd started to roll in I began to see Stars roll in from my reserved box seats. While I am typing "So I'm at the spike lee movie" I here "Hey Tracie (my mom)" and I look up and see SPIKE LEE!! The poetry in the movie was also very inspiring. Then the mayor comes up for a conversation with my mother dear. So following that I finish my status with

"So I'm at the spike lee movie
Just shook spike lee's hand theennn the mayor
Lovin it holla at me."

So to avoid giving the movie away I will simply say I thought it was amazing! Spike Lee tied in are pains of Katrina still with our Triumph with the Saints and back to the dread of the BP oil spill. Every one Should see this!!!!! I STRONGLY RECOMMEND IT! Now while I may give some away accidentally, I do believe thought that this article gives you a pretty good overview.

Spike Lee’s “If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise’’ follows up on his Emmy-winning 2006 documentary, “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts.’’ That film was about the hurricane and its immediate aftermath. This one looks at New Orleans in the time since. More specifically, it looks at New Orleanians. Personality, both his own and that of the characters in his films, has always been Lee’s strong suit as an artist. The vividness and unpredictability of his interviewees is what’s best about the documentary. The title’s sense of wary optimism — all right, very wary optimism — largely reflects their view.

The documentary includes a little news footage and the occasional excerpt from “Levees.’’ Otherwise, it’s talking heads. This being a Spike Lee Joint, they do the right thing verbally. These heads don’t just talk. They rant, reflect, remonstrate, recite poetry, complain, brag, explain, mourn, flirt with the camera, self-justify (disgraced FEMA chief Michael Brown comes off as kind of sympathetic, actually).

Some are famous, like Brown, New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton (the documentary begins with citywide euphoria over the team’s victory in this year’s Super Bowl), and Brad Pitt, who’s bankrolled low-income housing in the city’s Lower Ninth Ward. Some also appeared in “Levees,’’ like former mayor Ray Nagin, histori an Douglas Brinkley, and trumpeter Terence Blanchard. Blanchard, a frequent Lee collaborator, also contributes a very fine score. There’s a recurring trumpet figure, moody and expansive, that sounds a bit like “It Ain’t Necessarily So’’ (more wariness?). Most of the interview subjects are local residents unknown beyond New Orleans or even within it: journalists, officials, academics, everyday people, many of them poor — people who have endured.
In a nice touch, Lee identifies his interviewees not just by name but also place of residence. Sense of place deeply informs the documentary. A woman who returned to the city after living in a FEMA trailer for eight months says, “Living in New Orleans is a privilege. It’s not easy, but it’s a privilege.’’ The idea of the city’s exceptionalism, in ways both good and bad, suffuses the documentary. “We’re not really part of the United States,’’ says Garland Robinette, a local radio host. “We’re kind of like a rich Haiti.’’ (Lee devotes several minutes to the Haitian earthquake.) That sense of otherness is part of what makes the city seem both so alluring and almost cursed.


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