I genuinely want more people in India to watch this film so this is a spoiler free analysis. Please watch this film if you haven’t already. I’ll be making a video essay about this film soon, where I’ll be analyzing this film in depth.
A while back, I became a little cocky about films. Maybe because I used to watch 2 films a day. I never thought a film would make me feel uncomfortable. I’ve seen gross, violent, hateful films without batting an eye. But something struck me when I saw Spike Lee’s best, ‘Do The Right Thing’. I felt uncomfortable about my own idea of Race.
I don’t know if it was the unapologetic cinematography, the idiosyncratic characters or the song ‘Fight The Power’ by ‘Public Enemy’ blaring from Radio Raheem’s radio. This film gives a perspective on Race that I have never thought about before. Race/religion/caste are subjects that I find fascinating. Hence, I took it personally that I wasn’t able to understand what I was feeling by the end of the film. So I watched this film again. And again.
I realized that Spike Lee had tapped into a weird sense of internal racism that resides within all of us. And he never made it clear as to who is right in the situation towards the end of the film. Because Lee knows, better than most people, that it doesn’t matter who’s right or who’s wrong because at the end of the day it’s probably going to be a Black man who’s going to lose his life. And this can be applied to any marginalized group of people anywhere in the world. It’s only the racially privileged people who get to decide which side is right, the oppressed ones don’t get that luxury.
I also love the way Lee constructs this film without treating the Black community to be the right ones by default. He knows that race is a complex concept and that both sides need to be shown for who they really are. Which brings me to why I’m writing this…
Think about India. I think this film applies to India in it’s current state aptly. There is a sense of unrest. With Dalits speaking up against their oppression and a general Anti Muslim vibe across the board, it’s important that Race/Religion/Caste are spoken about openly. I would urge anyone who’s reading this in India to go watch this film, if they haven’t already. I wish one day there’s a film like this made in India which can really talk about hatred and love from both perspectives. But till then, watch this film, and try to apply it to India.
P.S – Tomorrow I will write a post on secularism which will refer to this film again. If you’ve read this post then do read that too.