This Spike Lee film examines the life of an aspiring actress in New York. She is upset by the treatment of women in the movie industry during one of her screen tests with 'QT'. Out of work ... See full summary »
Dark, biting satire of the television industry, focusing on an Ivy-League educated black writer at a major network. Frustrated that his ideas for a "Cosby Show"-esque take on the black family has been rejected by network brass, he devises an outlandish scheme: reviving the minstrel show. The hook: instead of white actors in black face, the show stars black actors in even blacker face. The show becomes an instant smash, but with the success also comes repercussions for all involved. Written by
N. Cognito <nobody@noplace>
Most of this film was shot only on digital (Mini DV) camcorders, the kind you can buy at any electronics store. While this sacrificed quality, it allowed them to shoot with 15 cameras at a time, and it also allowed Spike Lee to get all the footage he needed shot within the film's modest budget. The only scenes shot on film were the "Mantan: The New Millennium Minstrel Show" sequences, which were shot on 16mm film. See more »
This is Lee's best film. It isn't heavy handed despite the explosive topic. In fact I would argue that the images in this film are less offensive then some of the depiction of African-American life seen on MTV or BET. Less heavy handed then some of the vulgar depiction of my community that is allowed to be foisted on my community as entertainment. The modern minstrels show can be seen any night of the week on America's cable music networks. Which is more embarrassing Lil'John, 50 cent or Mantan? Which has had a bigger impact on the daily lives of African-American children, images of Step- N-Fetch it or Lil'John? Which are the stereotypes that are used to justify racial profiling in the larger public of the country in 2006, Gangstas or minstrels performers? It is a film about the power and responsibility of black America to control the images that define it.
I think Lee for the first time in a long time had a story he actually wanted to tell. The script was solid if not great. As usual Spike had a tough time with his female characters. The women in his films tend to be two dimensional. All good or all bad. It wasn't a perfect film but I think it will be remembered as one of Spike's most interesting.
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