Presentation on theme: "Golden Age Independent cinema was at one time a way of describing films that were pretty far from Hollywood in many ways indie cinema has become more of."— Presentation transcript:
Golden Age Independent cinema was at one time a way of describing films that were pretty far from Hollywood in many ways indie cinema has become more of a corporate branding strategy than a true alternative to commercial mainstream cinema Jim Jarmusch Stranger Than Paradise Caméra d'Or award for debut films, Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Picture of 1985Caméra d'OrSundance Film Festival National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Picture Coen Brothers: Blood Simple 1984 (Genre film) David Lynch: Eraserhead, Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks John Waters (a decade earlier) Steven Soderbergh: Sex Lies and Videotape (Palme d'Or at Cannes 1989 )Palme d'Or Quentin Tarantino Pulp Fiction (Palme d'Or 1994)Palme d'Or Todd Solondz Welcome to the Dollhouse Grand Jury Prize for best dramatic feature at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival. Sundance Film Festival Lost in Translation 2003 Sofia Coppola Acadamy Award for best original Screenplay
Profitability Stranger Than Paradise (1984) Budget US$100,000 Box office $2,436,000 US$ She’s Got to Have It Budget $185,000 Box office $7,137,502 Blood Simple: Budget $1.5 million Box office $4,218,701 Sex, Lies and Videotape Budget $1.2 million Box office $24,741,667
Comparison with current Blockbuster Pulp Fiction (Studio Indie) Budget $8.5 million Box office $213,928,762  +approx 205 Million  Guardians of the Galaxy: Budget $170 million  Box office $768 million  Million (so far)  
Independents Indie funding allows filmmakers to take risks What does it mean to take a risk? What risks were taken in Stranger than Paradise?
Breaking of Conventions (risks) There are expectations of films from moviegoers We expect the films to be moralistic (or at least the central characters tend to be good) All of the boring moments have to be cut out The central characters do not end up alone at the end A central character’s will meets clear obstacle and the goal is met before the conclusion Clear exposition Clear causality (every scene has clear motivation that moves the plot forward) The apparatus is hidden
Funding of Spike Lee films His first two films She’s Gotta Have it(1986) and School Daze(1988) were independently funded and financially successful This allowed for Spike Lee to receive more funding for Do the Right Thing At the time Indie films weren’t coopted by the studios Rare to have so much creative control over a project with mainstream backing
Spike Lee, Do the Right Thing 1989 Exceeded Lee’s earlier efforts thematically and artistically energy and craftsmanship realistic portrayal of African American neighborhood in Brooklyn Mise en Scene, music, and dialogue rich with allusions to African American culture Open ending, two divergent points of view
Modern Greek Tragedy: obeys the three unities. The story takes place in one setting, Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuy, on the hottest summer day And there is also continuity of time, which spans about two days Unity of Action (one central story and all secondary plots should be linked to it.)
Spike Lee controversial portrayed poorly in the press Do the Right Thing was rumored as a threat in movie theaters even before it was released. Pioneer filmmakers (Charles Burnett and Gordon Parks are the only African American Filmmakers that precede him--many followed)
Spike Lee’s memories of the film MOOKIE THREW THE GARBAGE CAN through the window in the penultimate scene “In reaction to seeing his best friend murdered by New York City’s finest. People have a breaking point and that was Mookie’s.” HE ENDING OF THE MOVIE was not hopeless. “It was a realistic portrayal and that’s why the film was made at Universal Pictures, not at Paramount, ’cause the powers that be didn’t like the ending. They wanted Mookie and Sal hugging, singing, “We Are the World.”
Spike Lee (Bio) Communications Major Studied Film at New York University (Tish School of the Arts) like Scorsese, Seidelman, Jarmusch She’s Gotta Have It, 1986 Most Commercially Successful film Inside Man was released in the last decade (Critical Success as well) More on Spike Lee’s bio can be found here biobio
Do the Right Thing Spike Lee’s first Union FilmUnion Studio Funding Diverse cast and crew
How did the script for Do the Right Thing come together? I had the title of it before I had anything else. Then it was bits and pieces--it was going to take place on the hottest day of the summer on one block in Bed-Stuy. Then I added the whole Italian- American/African-American conflict
One of many questions at the end of the film is whether Mookie "does the right thing" when he throws the garbage can through the window, thus inciting the riot that destroys Sal's pizzeria. Critics have seen Mookie's action both as an action that saves Sal's life, by redirecting the crowd's anger away from Sal to his property, and as an "irresponsible encouragement to enact violence".
The question is directly raised by the contradictory quotations that end the film, one advocating non-violence, the other advocating violent self- defense in response to oppression.
Spike Lee has remarked that he himself has only ever been asked by white viewers whether Mookie did the right thing; black viewers do not ask the question. Lee believes the key point is that Mookie was angry at the death of Radio Raheem, and that viewers who question the riot's justification are implicitly valuing white property over the life of a black man
"They say never judge a book by its cover," said Darien Williams. "For me I'm both of those. I left an impoverished environment to do something better for my life. Now when I return to that environment, I'm what people look up to."
"The true purpose of placing the two pictures together juxtaposed," said C.J. Lawrence, "was to show that [neither] our appearance nor class nor academic achievement should be the determining factors for whether we live or die.”