Spike Lee: Interviews

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Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2002 - Biography & Autobiography - 228 pages
2 Reviews

Since his first feature movie, She's Gotta Have It (1986), gave him critical and commercial success, Spike Lee has challenged audiences with one controversial film after another, sparking debates about race, sex, American politics and film production, and garnering award nominations along the way.

Spike Lee: Interviews collects the best interviews and profiles of America's most prominent African American filmmaker. The collection features interviews with such luminaries as Charlie Rose, Elvis Mitchell, Michael Sragow, and actor Delroy Lindo.

Lee has made a broad range of movies, including documentaries (4 Little Girls), musicals (School Daze), crime dramas (Clockers), biopics (Malcolm X). An early advocate of digital video, he used the technology to film both of his 2000 releases, The Original Kings of Comedy and Bamboozled.

Reactions to Do the Right Thing (1989) and Jungle Fever (1990) propelled Lee into a constant presence in the public eye as media currency. He directed commercials for Nike, Levi's, and the U.S. Navy, directed music videos, published seven books, and conducted many interviews explaining and clarifying his views. As Lee puts it, "I've been blessed with the opportunity to express the views of black people who otherwise don't have access to power and media. I have to take advantage of that while I'm still bankable."

Articulate and deeply passionate, Lee reveals a degree of subtlety and wit that is often lost in sound bites and headlines about him. The range of his interests is as diverse as the subjects of, and approaches to, his films.

Cynthia Fuchs, an associate professor of English at George Mason University, writes film and media reviews for the Philadelphia City Paper and Addicted to Noise.

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User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Spike Lee, I like how you had challenged many audience with tackfull film with many debates about race, sex and politics. I'm an author of Adults and Children books; I would be honored if you could read my latest released, " Immigrant among Thorns" by Catherine Gray- Taylor. Published by Xlinbris. This book is based on the present and past life of a woman walking out of poverty - into a world of courage, strength, and triumph. This book is online. I believe in could be benefit to you after you explore the beauty of it.
Mr. Lee, I love your courage when expressing the black race with the people from the media. You are very bold in communicating with them. Keep upto good work and may God continue to bless you.
Best regards,
Catherine G. Taylor

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Mr Lee,
My name is Maurice Davidson age 39.5. A native of Brooklyn New York, Crown Heights. The reason for this email is to ask you how would I go about sending you a book my mother wrote. It is currently at Brownstone Books and online www.

Selected pages


Lee Way
Spike Lees BedStuy BBQ
An Interview with Spike Lee
The Playboy Interview
An Interview with Spike Lee
Doing the Job
Interview with Spike Lee
Between Rock and a Hard Place
Hoops to Conquer
An Interview with Spike Lee
Spike Lees Seventies Flashback
Delroy Lindo on Spike Lee
An Interview with Spike Lee
Spike Lee on Videos Viability
Spikes Minstrel Show
Black like Spike

Spike Speaks
Interview with Spike Lee
The Demystification of Spike Lee
An Interview with Spike Lee Director of 4 Little Girls
Interview with Spike Lee
An Interview with Spike Lee

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About the author (2002)

Directing, writing, and starring in his own films, as did Charlie Chaplin and Orson Welles before him, Lee has arguably had almost as profound an influence on American filmmaking as his predecessors, although in very different ways. In his own words, he is good at "marketing," and what he has marketed is a highly politicized African American cinema that is also commercially viable. Many critics credit Lee with paving the way for a new wave of mass-market yet socially conscious filmmakers, including John Singleton, Charles Lane, and Carl Franklin. The eldest of six children, Lee was educated first at Morehouse College and then at New York University's film school. His first feature release, She's Gotta Have It (1986), won the Prix de Jeunesse at Cannes and was both critically acclaimed and commercially successful in the United States. Lee went on to make School Daze (1988) and Do the Right Thing (1989), a technically sophisticated film that addressed racism in a complex and controversial fashion. The film constructs a narrative that leaves it to the viewer to decide whether its protagonist, Mookie, has done the right thing when he responds to the death of one of his friends at the hands of the police by throwing a trash can through the window of his employer, who had called the police in the first place. Because a riot ensues, many (white) critics argued that the film celebrated violence, and the press suggested that it would incite black spectators to riot (it did not). Other critics suggested that Mookie actually defuses a riot, by directing the community's anger toward property and away from the police. Two years later, Lee tackled the subject of interracial relationships in another hotly debated film, Jungle Fever (1991), which some saw as preachy and sexist and others praised as bold and complex. However, his most recent and ambitious film, Malcolm X (1992), has been almost universally acclaimed. Lee has published a companion text for each film that includes biographies of all of the principals, essays on such topics as guerilla filmmaking, production stills, details of salaries and finances, excerpts from his journal or production notes, and the script. These materials demystify production, advertise the talents of the people who work for him, and promote his political positions, particularly his commitment to black entrepreneurship and cultural self-expression.

Cynthia Fuchs, an associate professor of English at George Mason University, writes film and media reviews for the Philadelphia City Paper and Addicted to Noise.