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Spike Lee

Spike Lee

Todd McGowan
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 168
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  • Book Info
    Spike Lee
    Book Description:

    Since the release of Do the Right Thing in 1989, Spike Lee has established himself as a cinematic icon. Lee's mostly independent films garner popular audiences while at the same time engaging in substantial political and social commentary. He is arguably the most accomplished African American filmmaker in cinematic history, and his breakthrough paved the way for the success of many other African Americans in film. In this first single-author scholarly examination of Spike Lee's oeuvre, Todd McGowan shows how Lee's films, from She's Gotta Have It through Red Hook Summer, address crucial social issues such as racism, paranoia, and economic exploitation in a formally inventive manner. McGowan argues that Lee uses excess in his films to intervene in issues of philosophy, politics, and art. McGowan contends that it is impossible to watch a Spike Lee film in the way that one watches a typical Hollywood film. By forcing observers to recognize their unconscious enjoyment of violence, paranoia, racism, sexism, and oppression, Lee's films prod spectators to see differently and to confront their own excess. In the process, his films reveal what is at stake in desire, interpersonal relations, work, and artistic creation itself.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09540-5
    Subjects: History, Film Studies

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Confronted with Too Much
    (pp. 1-138)

    Spike Lee is a filmmaker of excess. Excess characterizes each of his films—through unconventional shots, extreme characters, improbable scenes, and many other ways. Lee’s films employ these types of excess to intervene in critical issues that trouble the contemporary world—the question of the subject’s singularity, the role that fantasy plays in structuring our reality, the political impact of passion, the power of paranoia in shaping social relations, the damage that the insistence on community inflicts, the problem of transcendence, and the struggles of the spectator. Above all, Lee is known for being a political filmmaker, and I contend...

  5. Interview with Spike Lee
    (pp. 139-144)
    LISA COLLINS and Spike Lee

    A substantial portion of this interview first appeared on the Web site, where the interviewer Lisa Collins worked as a senior editor and segment producer. An award-winning independent filmmaker, multimedia artist, and entertainment journalist, Collins’s path intersects in many ways with that of Spike Lee, including the fact that both won a Student Academy Award. Collins earned her MFA in screenwriting and directing from Columbia University, andFilmmakermagazine named her “one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film.” In addition, her work has been presented in a retrospective at the Brooklyn Academy of Music byCreatively Speaking....

  6. Filmography
    (pp. 145-154)
  7. Bibliography
    (pp. 155-158)
  8. Index
    (pp. 159-164)
  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 165-170)