Spike Lee sought on Thursday to squash some rumors that have been swirling about his upcoming film on the violence that plagues parts of Chicago.Where this comes from I have no idea, but my eyes kind of glazed over when I saw this...
“A lot of things have been said about the film by people who know nothing about the film,” the famed director said during a news conference at St. Sabina Catholic Church. “We felt it was appropriate that we say what the narrative is, the filmmakers, the people who are doing this. Not the people that’s judging from afar.”
The film, which is reportedly titled “Chiraq”—though Lee referred to this as the “so-called-title”—has drawn the ire of city officials because it compares the city’s violence to the war zones of Iraq. Mayor Rahm Emanuel reportedly expressed his disdain for the title to Lee himself. According to NBC Chicago, Alderman Will Burns also called for the city council to cut Lee’s tax break unless he changes the film’s title. The moniker Chiraq was popularized by Chicago rappers Chief Keef and later used by stars like Kanye West, who was also raised in the Windy City.
However, earlier this week ScreenDaily reported that the script is a modern-day re-imagining of the ancient Greek comedy “Lysistrata.” In the bawdy original by Aristophanes, the women of Greece band together and withhold sex until their men put an end to war. The play is no escapist jape, but rather a savvy use of comedy to address serious themes about the extreme toll violence has on the men who fight and their families at home.And you know I'm hoping this is some rumor or just some smokescreen. Although at the same time if this could be another message movie could set it apart. I'd be interested to see how this would work.
Lee’s version (which is being co-written by Kevin Willmott, a filmmaker out of the University of Kansas) would purportedly update the action and set it in Chicago. If you're familiar with the original play, this concept doesn't seem outlandish. Or irresponsible in its treatment of violence. But how many people are indeed familiar with this Aristophanes work? It's far from obscure but it's not necessarily widely known and hasn't been produced in Chicago for at least 10 years, if not longer.
Lee is right when he says that if you don't like it you don't like it, but give the film a chance!