Simmering racial tensions explode at the end of a sweltering summer’s day in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuy neighbourhood when one of the locals agitates for a boycott of Sal’s Pizzeria because he resents the absence of black sports stars and actors on Sal’s ‘Wall of Fame’. Samuel L Jackson appears as smooth-talking DJ Senor Love Daddy whose on-air invocations to ‘chill’ fail to quell the escalating tension. Lee’s powerful break-out hit was like a cinematic Molotov cocktail when it was released, exploding popular American mainstream myths about racial solidarity and togetherness in the post-civil rights era. Twenty-two years on, its message still resonates.
Part of Sunday Brunches – Cinema and the City, 1-30 May 2011, Watershed, Bristol
‘Find a city. Find myself a city to live in.’ Talking Heads, Cities.
Cinema is a potent medium for defining the way we think about cities whether it is the futuristic cityscape of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis or the realism of Rosellini’s war-torn Rome Open City. The city in cinema offers both a real and imaginary space.
As part of Festival of Ideas, Watershed presents five films that each rely on the city they are set in but also shape and define it in our imagination – from London (Night and the City) to Shanghai (Code 46) via New York (Do The Right Thing) to Mumbai (Slumdog Millionaire) and Berlin (Wings of Desire).
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