A Peace of My Mind

Screen shot 2015-12-07 at 8.48.29 AM

Tis the season for “important” films, stockings stuffed with movies of the socially conscious variety. In that tradition, Spike Lee has made the ultimate Public Service Announcement. Set today, in South Side, Chicago, Chi-Raq is an adaptation of Aristophanes’s Lysistrata, a 2,426 year-old play about women who go on a sex strike to end the Peloponesian War. 2,500 years later, war still exists, only its weapons have become more abundant, deadly, and efficient. Teyonah Parris plays Lysistrata, the girlfriend of Chi-Raq, a rapper and gang leader played by Nick Cannon. Chi-Raq’s embroiled in an internecine feud with a one-eyed, corny but deadly rival named Cyclops (Wesley Snipes). After Cyclops and cronies burn down Lysistrata’s house, she, using the wisdom of an older woman (Angela Bassett), rallies her girlfriends to start a sex strike to end the violence. Chi-Raq is a musical experience: most scenes are impregnated with some kind of score and the dialogue rhymes (“Every woman got a man bangin’ and slangin’ /fightin’ for the flag /riskin’ the long zip of that cadaver bag”). Opening with statistics that claim that more Americans have died in South Side, Chicago than in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in the same period, Chi-Raq is overtly political. Though not politically correct: someone tells a prostitute about getting chicken and waffles after having sex, slurs and stereotypes are bandied about, and Clay Davis from The Wire has a cameo in which he utters one of his famous “Sheeits” upon seeing two men dancing together. Chi-Raq is a sermon—and at one point a pacifist preacher (John Cusack) delivers an actual sermon—against systemic oppression, the justice system, the NRA, and politicians. We can only hope Spike Lee’s not just preaching to the choir.

By Alec Julian & Carrie White 

 

Advertisements

One thought on “A Peace of My Mind

  1. An essential paradigm has been reflected in this review, a discourse of Lysistrata. The pattern of Lysistrata’s peace campaign by the means of withholding the sexual component of day-to-day life for both belligerent side, serves as core device for the unfolding actions.
    I believe the tag’s list shall include Lysistrata (translates as Army Disbander) as a heroine and the comedy by Aristophanes (411BC) as a guidelines to the exiting from war conflicts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s