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Chi-raq trailer

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 03, 2015

Have you noticed that non-mainstream films are increasingly being produced/financed/released through Amazon, HBO, and Netflix and not the big studios? The latest example is Spike Lee’s new joint, Chi-raq. Set among the gang violence in modern-day Chicago, the film is an adaptation of an ancient Greek play by Aristophanes called Lysistrata.

Originally performed in classical Athens in 411 BC, it is a comic account of one woman’s extraordinary mission to end the Peloponnesian War. Lysistrata persuades the women of Greece to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands and lovers as a means of forcing the men to negotiate peace — a strategy, however, that inflames the battle between the sexes. The play is notable for being an early exposé of sexual relations in a male-dominated society.

Even with all the big names attached — Lee, Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson, Samuel L. Jackson, Wesley Snipes, John Cusack — I wonder if a movie with a predominantly African-American cast, strong women characters, and based on an Aristophanes play would get greenlit at a major studio these days.