Monday, May 25, 2020

Spike Lee’s New York & Da 5 Bloods

New York Times – "Spike Lee and the Battlefield of American History"

"As his own tribute to the essential workers of New York, Lee made a short film, “New York, New York,” that premiered on CNN earlier this month. Filmed over a month and using Frank Sinatra’s iconic ballad of the same name as its soundtrack, the film captures the city’s eerily empty landmarks. But it ends on an optimistic note: hospital workers in personal protective gear who arrive like the cavalry.

“There’s going to be great stories about this time — novels, music, documentaries, poems, feature films, TV shows — it’s going to be a cottage industry!” he said. “And hopefully people tell the truth. There are plenty of real heroes,” he continued, adding, “just tell the truth, and it will be captivating.”

(Da 5 Bloods – June 12 on Netflix)

"The four veterans of the film — played by Lindo, Clarke Peters, Isiah Whitlock Jr. and Norm Lewis — affectionately refer to one another as “bloods,” a term used by their real-life counterparts in the war. In a story that pays homage to “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” (1948), “The Bridge on the River Kwai” (1957) and “Apocalypse Now” (1979), the bloods are on a mission to recover the body of their former squad leader, Stormin’ Norman (Chadwick Boseman), which is not incidentally buried near a secret treasure.

The drama that unfolds — among the men, and between the group and their present-day Vietnamese rivals — is a modern parable about the enduring depravations of war and the false promises of American individualism.

“All of us, and humanity as a whole, have to learn to think about more than just ourselves,” Lee said. “If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that we’ve got to support one another. We can’t go back to what we were doing in B.C., before corona, with great inequalities between the have and have-nots.”"

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