Just in time for the release of his mystery Kickstarter-funded joint, Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus, this summer, BAMcinématek in Brooklyn, New York will host a retrospective of Spike Lee’s film, in a series titled “By Any Means Necessary: A Spike Lee Joints Retrospective” running from June 29 – July 10.
It will probably be a good time for me to revisit my Spike Lee retro from a couple of years ago, during which I revisited what I called his *forgotten* films – essentially, those titles that rarely come up when conversations about favorite Spike Lee films are had – like Girl 6, She Hate Me, Bamboozled, and others.
I wonder if we’ll ever see a Tyler Perry retrospective. He’s directed about half as many films as Spike has (13 or so), but he’s done so in an incredibly short period of time, releasing, on average, around 2 films a year. Talk about prolific. Maybe too much so.
But I digress…
BAM’s 12-day series will include a screening of what is probably Spike’s least seen film – his NYU master’s thesis work, Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads. I haven’t even seen it (the only released Spike Lee film I have yet to watch, if only because it’s not one that Spike has made available). Needless to say, I will most certainly be there for that screening, when it happens on July 1. It may be my only chance to finally see it.
Of course, the usual suspects will all be included: Do The Right Thing (celebrating its 25th anniversary) – a screening that will be BAMcinemaFest’s closing night film, which will see Lee and the cast in attendance. That should definitely be fun!
Clockers, He Got Game, Mo’Better Blues, Jungle Fever, 4 Little Girls, Get On The Bus, Bamboozled, Girl 6, School Daze, Summer Of Sam, 25th Hour, She’s Gotta Have It, and of course Malcolm X, will all screen.
Notice that I didn’t mention She Hate Me, nor Miracle At St. Anna, nor Red Hook Summer. Certainly not among Spike’s strongest cinematic moments, I think most will agree; maybe also his most contentious. But, still very much Spike Lee Joints, and all the weight that the label carries. None of those is listed in the press release I received, so I assume that means they won’t be included in the retrospective. Then again, neither are his Katrina documentaries (When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts and If God Is Willing and da Creek Don’t Rise), which were actually some of his best work, in my humble opinion.
Now if only BAM would pleasantly-surprise us with a screening of the Spike Lee-directed pilot episode for Da Brick – the HBO project loosely-based on Mike Tyson’s youth, with John Boyega starring, that the cable network shelved last year…
I’m sure tickets for the retro will likely sell quickly, so you’re advised to get yours once they go on sale, which should be some time soon (tickets for Do The Right Thing as the closing night film for BAMcinemaFest on June 29, are on sale currently, so those you can pick up now). I’ll let you know when I know more.