When it comes to Spike Lee, you either love him or want to leave him alone. For many of us, Spike stories reflect the nuances of Black life (or in the case of “Inside Man”, human nature). His films also drive conversation because although we are entertained he may force us to think about a thing or two. Hollywood, however, often falls in the latter category and opts to leave Spike alone (his mouth may have something to do with it). How else can you explain the lack of interest in a sequel to “Inside Man” (which grossed $184 million worldwide) or a reboot of “School Daze”? But the brother continues to hone is craft in hopes of getting his work to a theater near you.
His latest effort, “Red Hook Summer” caused quite a stir at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year when it took a dark, and some would argue, controversial turn. This made me wonder whether I’d ever actually get to see the film. Turns out we will be able to see it starting in August, 24 Frames is reporting that Variance Films has signed on to distribute the film. Spike actually shot his film in a little over 2 weeks on the streets of Brooklyn, the independent way (since he couldn’t get funding).
Here’s the plot: A young boy named Flik Royale comes up North to the projects in Red Hook to stay with the grandfather he’s never met before for the summer. The grandfather is a preacher who’s intent on converting the child. He encounters all sorts of characters in the ‘hood’ and finds a friend in a girl his age named Chazz Morningstar. (Sidenote: Spike always gives his characters interesting names.) I am also interested in this flick because I read an article about how Spike went to a school in Fort Greene and discovered his lead actor there.
But what also makes this film intriguing is that it sort of harkens back to “Do the Right Thing” including an appearance by Mookie himself. In the film screened at Sundance the final act includes what has been described as a heinous act that incorporates sex and scripture. There’s no word as to whether Spike has decided to keep it or cut it. Word is even his screenwriter, James McBride, had concerns. But this is Spike’s film so I suspect he’ll do what he wants. Come summer we’ll find out whether he truly did the right thing with this scene. All I know is it will be great to see a Spike Lee Joint back in the movie theater near me.Read Also