Spike Lee’s latest film, “If God Is Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise” — which I finally watched today — offers yet another frustrating look at the situation in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast, five years after Hurricane Katrina and four years after his 2006 doc, “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts.”
The four hour film carefully weaves in footage from his first, updating a number of stories and exploring new strands of the tragedy. As hard as it may be to sustain a story over 238 minutes, Lee and producer/editor Sam Pollard pull it off, mixing personal portraits with political insights from lot of elected officials. They also wisely stray away from Katrina’s aftermath to explore relevant links to the earthquake in Haiti and the recent BP oil spill.
The film is perhaps at its most powerful when offering still images or when subjects are directly addressing the camera, whether in spoken word pieces or introducing themselves during intros while holding picture frames.
“If God Is Willing…” airs on HBO again this Tuesday and throughout September.
image courtesy HBO