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Vol. 13, No. 5, 2014
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Robert J. Lewis
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4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days
Poor Boys Game
Finn's Girl
Leaving the Fold
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Beneath the Rooftops of Paris
Before Tomorrow
Paraiso Travel
Necessities of Life
For a Moment of Freedom
Blood River
By the Will of Genghis Kahn
The Concert
Weaving Girl
Into Eternity
When We Leave
Le Havre
Presumed Guilty
A Separation
Take This Waltz
Beyond The Walls
The Place Beyond the Pines
The Past

spike lee's


reviewed by


You know when you see a new shirt or dress on the clothing rack inside a swanky store, then you try it on and it looks horrible -- well that analogy certainly holds true for this film. I am sure the script looked like a killer story but put onto the screen it morphs into a major flop.

I have no idea what the iconic Spike Lee was thinking of, other than trying to make a modern non/Hollywood terror film.

Da Sweet Blood of Jesus is about a blood-hungry professor named Dr. Green, who kills to satiate his addiction to blood. His open fascination with the ancient blood-sucking customs of the Ashanti tribe seemed to have literally and physically gotten under his skin.

The scenery was nice -- Martha's Vineyard, and his house was gorgeous, but the lead actor, Michal K. Williams, was a stiff board, who is nonetheless able to seduce all kinds of women as soon as he opens his mouth -- before he drains to the dregs his victims of their blood. Why women fall for him is another puzzlement, as he is rather unpleasant to look at.

Only an hour before the official screening of the film, Spike Lee, who made a special trip to Montreal for the festival, received on-stage king-of-cinema kudos from famous people connected with the festival, including the great hockey player P.K. Subban, referencing the director’s inspiration as a human being and filmmaker -- that he is a guiding light for youth, and was most certainly for him. The irony was almost comic, as if everyone were talking about a different filmmaker -- at least after the screening to a full house.

If this film epitomizes Mr. Lee's noble character, I think something grave is amiss. Someone suggested he is going through an artistic crisis. I think he is experimenting and trying to be obtusely trendy. The film belongs in the Fantasia Festival. I am an honest reviewer, and the fact I saw people leaving during the film says it all.

What's in a name? Sometimes everything and sometimes nothing. This film is an embarrassing disappointment for fans of Mr. Lee -- a pioneering story-teller with a social conscience. The persistently unsubtle, in your face metaphor of society's parasitical ways is the only redemptive message of this film which address exploitation, the dynamics of addictions and those who service them, as well as the deliberate obfuscation of one's real intentions. The profundity of masks Dr. Green has hanging on his walls is certainly symbolic proof of this latter metaphor for deception that eyes can't see.

The film was a classy enough and slick, but the music got on my nerves: too much of it and totally unrelated to the film. During the afternoon press conference, Mr. Lee was invited to talk about the film, but he declined to do so. Now, I know why. Such silence -- very atypical of the loquacious Mr. Lee – indicates, in my opinion, a lack of enthusiasm for one's work. Perhaps, this is one film he is already not proud of, even though critical faculty challenged Fantasia Festival groupies will surely find merit in it.

This was the second film that screened during the 2014 Montreal International Black Film Festival - the largest of its kind in Canada.



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