Spike Lee BY NattY126 The interior meaning of Directors Spike Lee’s film Do the Right Thing is centered around shedding a light on the injustices that were happenning in black communities, specifically Brooklyn in the 1980’s. Like many of Lee’s films he also incorporated political and social aspects as well. During that time in the eighties, Lee felt that under Mayor Ed Kock, New York had become extremely uncomfortable with racial tension. Several racially profiled incidents had happen under his power and Lee made a point to address these issues in his movie.
For example, In 1986 a black twenty-three year old construction worker named Michael Griffith was killed after being chased from a pizzeria than beaten with bats by an Italian-American mob. While trying to get away he accidentally wandered onto the Belt Parkway where he was struck by an automobile in Howard Beach, Queens. Although Lee didn’t duplicate this exact story, you can see the correlation from the tension between Sal, Vito and Pino (Italians) and the rest of the African American community in Do the Right Thing.
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In the fight scene between Sal and Radio Rahim, Sal uses a bat. Another example is when a granti artist Michael Stewart who was apprehended by eleven police men and was choked to death. You can see the symbolic nature of this incident played out in the end of the film when Radio Rahim is choked to death by the police officer. Spike Lee aimed to make sure that the rest of America knows what is going on, and he use this film to create dialouge and awareness about the racial tension that was going on in New York City. When Lee’s film released it was right around th time of the
Democratic primary for mayor so he wanted to influence the political climate. Director Spike Lee’s personal signiture can be seen in Do the Right Thing, Miracle at St. Ann’s and Inside Man. One of Lee’s personal signiture’s is the use of recurring actors in his films. In the film Do the Right Thing, Lee used eight actors he had previously worked with including Ossie Davis, Erik Dellums, Giancarlo Esposito, Samuel L. Jackson, Joie Lee (his sister), Bill Nunn, Roger Guenveur Smith, and Leonard L. Thomas. In the film Miracle at St.
Ann’s he used five recurring actors including Lemon Anderson, John Leguizamo, Brad Leland, John Turturro and Kerry Washington. He also used five recurring actors in Inside Man as well, Including Lemon Anderson, Victor Colicchio, Kim Director, Christopher Plummer, Denzel Washington and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Another one of Spike Lee’s personal signature’s is his use of montage’s. The montages in his films explore the different perspectives of people. You can see examples of this in the film Do the Right Thing and Miracle at St. Ann’s. In Do the
Right Thing there is a racial montage with different races describing eachother with offensive racial slurs. In the film Miracle at St. Ann the montage includes three different groups of people all praying to God. I believe this montage shows that everyone no matter right or wrong believes in a higher power and believes they should be protected. Furthermore, another personal siginiture Lee has is when he has an actor look directly into the camera, breaking the fourth wall. Examples of this can be seen in Do the Right Thing when Radio Rahim is describing the power of love nd hate.
He uses this time to give a metophoric description of the power struggle between love and hate, similar to what’s going on in the community at that time. In the tilm Inside Man the tilm opens witn Dalton Russell looking directly into the camera while he is speaking. In Miracle of St. Anna’s after the incident in the restaurant, the soilders and the little boy are looking directly into the camera. They are silent but they are making a connection with the audience through their eyes. I believe this technique gives audiences a more personal feel as if the character is peaking directly to them.
An example of this can also be seen in Miracle at St. Ann Director Spike Lee’s technical competence can be seen with his signiture dolly shot, his use of semiotics and his 360 degree camera shot. dolly shot boy playing game, a the restaurant talking, In Do the Right thing there is a scene where Mookie walks across a little girls chalk drwing on the ground. This is symbolic of the American Dream. When it comes to semiotics Lee uses mulriple sources to send messages such as background, writing on walls, pictures, character names etc.
One of his most ompelling use of semitics is in Inside man when one of the hostages son is playing a violent video game. This scene is sympolic and addresses the affect of gansta rap on children and the glamorization of violence in video games and rap music. Also outside of the bank the van says on it ‘perfectly planned paint’ , symbolic for the bank scheme being planned to perfection. Semiotics in the Miracle of St. Anna’s can be seen through the multiple propoganda pictures throughout the movie. Also after the men leave the restarant after being disrespected they come to a cross road.