Magazine article Screen International

'Do the Right Thing' (1989) - Screen's 40 at 40

Magazine article Screen International

'Do the Right Thing' (1989) - Screen's 40 at 40

Article excerpt

Director: Spike Lee (US)

The US independent scene flourished in the 1980s, as film-makers such as John Sayles and Jim Jarmusch crafted distinctive movies far removed from the Hollywood studio system. And arguably, the movement's most important director was inspired by those early trailblazers.

Spike Lee has long used New York as the backdrop for his films, never more memorably than in Do The Right Thing (1989). Chronicling one long, hot day in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighbourhood of Brooklyn, this comedy-drama touched on real-life racial incidents such as the 1983 police killing of black graffiti artist Michael Stewart.

But despite the incendiary finale - the death of a hip-hop fan, the ensuing riot - Do The Right Thing was as sage as it was sad and angry, examining how the US's melting pot had become a morass of mistrust and animosity. …

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