Exclusive clip: Samuel L. Jackson in Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq
James R | On 30, Nov 2016
Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq is released in UK cinemas on Friday 2nd December – and we’ve got an exclusive from the film to give you a glimpse of its incendiary brilliance.
Inspired by the ancient Greek play “Lysistrata” by Aristophanes, the film is set in modern-day Chicago, where, after the murder of a child by a stray bullet, a group of women decide to take a stand. Led by a gang leader’s beautiful young girlfriend, Lysistrata, they persuade women on both sides of the gang disputes to swear off sex with their men until the fighting stops. As the ultimate battle of the sexes rages on, the city’s fate hangs in the balance in this searing satire of gun violence in America.
In more than three decades as a filmmaker, Spike Lee has tackled topics as far-ranging as college fraternities, jazz music, the Son of Sam murder spree and Malcolm X, but his latest film, Chi-Raq, enters uncharted territory even for the prolific writer and director. From its title – street-slang that combines Chicago and Iraq – to its classical roots, Chi-Raq is a blistering topical commentary on life in a community that has become a combat zone. In the first 10 months of 2015, more than 2,500 people had been shot in Chicago.
“It is like a war out there,” says Lee, who co-wrote the film with Kevin Willmott. “It’s not just Chicago or New York — Baltimore, Maryland, is known as ‘BodyMore, Murderland’— but it’s on another level in Chicago because of the gangs. And it’s not just an urban issue. Right now, all across America, there are mass shootings. People are being gunned down left and right. This film is not only a declaration against the violence in Chicago, but the violence all across America.”
The movie is the first original production by Amazon Studios.
“Kevin and I took the finished script to Sundance and had meeting after meeting after meeting,” Lee says. “Amazon showed real interest in making the movie we wanted to make.”
Now, the film arrives in UK cinemas on Friday 2nd December – and true to its streaming roots, can also be seen on multiple pay-per-view VOD platforms from the same day, for those who can’t find it in a cinema near them.
The movie stars Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Teyonah Parris, Jennifer Hudson, Angela Bassett, John Cusack, and Samuel L. Jackson as the film’s impeccably dressed narrator. Watch him in action below: