View Full Version : Spike Lee crafts complex, monumental look at Katrina

08-21-2006, 03:42 PM
Spike Lee crafts complex, monumental look at Katrina

By Barry Garron
Fri Aug 18, 8:31 PM ET

Spike Lee calls his four-hour documentary on Hurricane Katrina a requiem, which it is, but that only begins to describe it.

The film, broken into four parts, is much more than a memorial chant to those who died in a natural disaster that went largely unmitigated by manmade relief. It also is a comprehensive look at what the storm did to the lives of the people who survived it.

The docu doesn't shrink from any part of the story. It includes the vast landscape of devastation, which is indisputable, as well as the assignment of blame for the tragic and inadequate response, some of which remains debatable. Lee's work is big enough to allow for conflicting opinions, though in most cases, it isn't hard to discern where the filmmaker stands.

There are powerful images and words during both nights, but if you must choose only one to watch, pick the first. Acts I and II deal with the predictions of the hurricane, the terrible storm and the immediate aftermath. The faces of Katrina's victims, as they describe their life-or-death ordeals, are flat-out unforgettable. Individual accounts put larger stories -- everything from the horrors at the Superdome to the extent of looting -- into greater perspective

Acts III and IV, though no less important to the telling of the story, are more reflective and less visceral. They highlight the inadequate government response and, through news footage and interviews, offer a variety of reasons and excuses. The final night also deals with life after Katrina including, in particular, a segment on the emotional wounds likely to last for generations. Both nights show the genius of Terence Blanchard, whose original music heightens the drama, and of the editors, who made superb choices from a huge volume of material.

Before 2005 ended, Lee had begun the first of his eight trips to New Orleans to gather the interviews and images that he would weave so masterfully into what may well be the ultimate account of this sorrowful chapter in American history. Overwhelmingly, his subjects were well chosen for the range of their experiences and their vivid first-person accounts. The few exceptions, such as Harry Belafonte and activist/candidate Rev. Al Sharpton, seemingly were picked to raise the level of indignation over the lack of adequate government response.

Katrina's swath of destruction was far wider than just the city of New Orleans. Lee acknowledges the damage to parts of Mississippi and other areas in Louisiana, but his focus is almost entirely on the Crescent City and its residents. Although Katrina's wrath was felt by everyone in its path, Lee is particularly sensitive to the toll it exacted on New Orleans' least powerful citizens, most of them black. While this adds to a subtext in the documentary that race was a key part of the story, it also focuses attention on the greatest human costs and the need to avert such suffering in the future.

Executive producer: Sheila Nevins; Supervising producer: Jacqueline Glover; Line producer: Butch Robinson; Producers: Spike Lee, Sam Pollard; Director: Spike Lee; Director of photography: Cliff Charles; Supervising editor: Sam Pollard; Editors: Getta Gandbhir, Nancy Novack; Original music: Terence Blanchard.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

will everyone be watching this tonght?? and if so, leave some feedback on what you thought about it be it postitive ot negative. everyone is entitiled to thei opinion

hidden ninja
08-21-2006, 06:46 PM
I'd really like to see this, but don't get HBO.
hopefully it comes out on DVD.

08-23-2006, 12:08 AM
words cant explain

New Discipline
08-23-2006, 12:33 AM

The skirt of the U.S. government was pulled by the Most High and exposed to the world as incompetent, foolish, and hateful towards the black people within its borders. It was a sign from God and a wake up call to us. Is the old lion now roused? it sure seemed so for a short time after this tragedy, but what is it going to take to wake up you black and hispanic people in this country?? It's high time to awake out of sleep, Israel stop calling on man for help, especially a wicked man. The Bible says WOE! to them that trust in man. Call on the Most High for help, He's a Blackman, not a whiteman, for God, the true God of the Bible is our reasonable service, not Bush, Cheney, and the rest of the cabal of demons, the rulers of the darkness running this country and current wicked world.