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Attention Deficit: Spike Lee’s “Passing Strange”

Attention Deficit: Spike Lee's "Passing Strange"

Spike Lee is among the busiest men in show business, and you might not even know it. These days, his major narrative features appear with regularity every two years or so—moving backwards, Miracle at St. Anna (2008), Inside Man (2006), She Hate Me (2004), 25th Hour (2002), Bamboozled (2000); a fairly respectable pace for a major American director working inside and out of the studio system. But in between he’s peppered his oeuvre with a hefty amount of other work, including long-form documentary (When the Levees Broke), shorts (from the omnibus films All the Invisible Children, and Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet), oddities (like the Mariah Carey bio-spoof Lovers and Haters and Zidane-with-commentary knockoff Kobe Doin’ Work), and performance/concert films (The Original Kings of Comedy), some of which even the most ardent Lee fan might not even be aware of or have access to. Even if this has been a particularly fecund period for his narrative features (his run from Bamboozled to Inside Man is fascinating, wildly diverse, and largely unsung), in the wake of the scattershot Miracle at St. Anna, one worries a bit about the toll this lack of focus might be taking on his art as a whole.

Continue reading Jeff Reichert’s take on Spike Lee’s Passing Strange.

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