Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Response to Spike Lee's 'Do the Right thing'

   The color I was assigned was Orange. Orange is a signifier of aggression, desire, action and heat.  Although it is not as intense as red, orange has a bold effect. Orange is used throughout the film well  to convey all these emotions and actions. The use and variation of orange in the film is also signified as strength and endurance; of the community, the individuals and their different plot lines and their turmoil coupled with the rising heat of a summers day. All these symbolic color meanings are used effectively through the film. Examples of orange concretely used are: lighting of interior rooms and exterior scenes, painted walls, clothing, flowers, accessories accented on people such as ribbons, hats and lycra!

   I was irritated at what Mookie did.   Mookie's character was stuck in an emotional developmental stage that was infuriating to me.  So it wasn't such a shock that he did something so destructive with no apparent concern for the consequences. His whole character embodied a frustrated downtrodden individual, trying really hard to deal with an uninspiring life. I think if he had had inspiring mentors he might have made better decisions overall with his life. Thus I am caught between sympathy and 'we all make our own choices' in regards to Mookie and his action at the climax of the film.

  'Do the Right Thing', is a political movie. It is political because of some of the issues chosen. For example, the police killing a detained suspect and the intricacies of that scene leading up to the political 'rioting'. The neighborhood dynamic has underlying unrest due to what could be blamed on political choices that lead to inequality and poverty. What the characters are acting out in the day are not political but, yes, are personal grievances hidden inside the facade they deem as political. This is in my opinion, to hide their actual similarities and humanness to one another. Because somehow through the tribe and culture vs culture mentality  they can quell the scared, tenuous emotions each culture and family hides from one another as a defense mechanism.

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