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Films

Watch Spike Lee's favourite film on Netflix

American filmmaker, producer, writer and actor Spike Lee won his first-ever Academy Award in 2019. A pioneer in the independent filmmaking industry, this revolutionary filmmaker made his affiliations clear with his feature film She’s Gotta Have It. His interests lay in portraying deep=seated monumental issues like colourism, racism and other socio-political issues. He deals the same with scathing humour and wit to make it more accessible to the audience. 

Lee’s films have started forging a new path for representing African-American people in cinema where they were no longer just “pimps and whores, but [as] intelligent, upscale urbanites.” 

However, Lee has refuted the claims by stating how much the problem has been internalised and propagated by Hollywood. “Any film I do is not going to change the way black women have been portrayed, or black people have been portrayed, in cinema since the days of D.W. Griffith,” he said. 

Spike Lee has been hailed as a renegade revolutionary in depicting the identity crisis of black people and the systemic oppression, besides urban poverty and increasing crime. His films are referred to as “Spike Lee Joints”, and some of his trademark phrases mandatorily appear at every closing credit, namely “Ya Dig”, “Sho Nuff”, etc. 

Spike Lee had once named an extensive list of all his favourite films, including Mean Streets, The Godfather, To Kill A Mockingbird, etc. 

However, one of his favourite films is now available for streaming on Netflix. Directed by John Singleton, the 1991 film Boyz n the Hood is a grim and heart-wrenching portrayal of the life of black people in Los Angeles. 

Poignant, powerful and intense, the film commemorates the hardships of black people via the story of three childhood friends, Darrin, Ricky and Tre, as they struggle to cope with the dangers and disruptions while growing up in a LA ghetto. The cast included Cuba Gooding Jr., Ice Cube, Laurence Fishburne, Morris Chestnut, Regina King, Angela Bassett, Tyra Ferrell and others.

Initially made by Singleton as a part of his application process to film school, Columbia Pictures acquired the film in 1990. Singleton was inspired by his own experiences and that of others close to him and infused them within a narrative of racial prejudices, bigotry, violence, fear, in-fighting and oppression, as is pertinent in modern-day society. 

Nominated at the 64th Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, the film commemorated Singleton as the youngest and first-ever African-American director to be nominated for the award. 

This tragic coming-of-age tale is, according to Singleton, “timeless because the conditions and things that people are going through still exist.” The director added, “Whether that’s those in urban environments living under a police state, prevalent black-on-black crime, or the nihilistic view of the world that young people have when they don’t see anything else”. 

The director concluded by saying, “neighbourhoods have changed and evolved, but many things remain the same and as long as that’s the case then things won’t change”.

Watch Spike Lee’s favourite film on Netflix.