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Fighting the Power: Do the Right Thing 20 Years Later

Fighting the Power: Do the Right Thing 20 Years Later

“1989, the number, another summer,” so goes Public Enemy’s renowned rap anthem. But it wasn’t just another summer for American cinema. Twenty years ago this week, the year that “Do the Right Thing” exploded onto the screen was a pivotal one. Not only was Spike Lee’s American masterpiece about boiling racial tensions on a Brooklyn block released in U.S. theaters, but so was Steven Soderbergh’s “sex, lies and videotape,” Michael Moore’s “Roger and Me,” Gus Van Sant’s “Drugstore Cowboy,” and Jim Sheridan’s “My Left Foot”—all sophisticated, daring movies that received both significant critical and box-office success, and in a few cases, studio support. In a sense, 1989 was the year that American independent cinema first came of age. Read the article in indieWIRE today.

Most interesting to filmmakers may be John Pierson’s observations that “Do the Right Thing” signaled an important key moment for America’s next generation of maverick directors, “because it paved the way for studios to think they could get involved with somebody like Spike, and for filmmakers to think it was a good option for them.”

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