FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MARGOT GERBER

MARCH 2, 1999

Tel.: 323/466-FILM ext. 115

DIRECTOR SPIKE LEE TO APPEAR IN-PERSON

FOR THE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE'S

COMPLETE RETROSPECTIVE OF HIS FILM WORK

March 15 - 20, 1999

HOLLYWOOD – Spike Lee will appear in-person at the Egyptian Theatre for the opening night of the American Cinematheque's complete retrospective of his work, OUT IN THE STREETS: THE FILMS OF SPIKE LEE, March 15 - 20, 1999. All 12 of his feature films will be screened as well as the award-winning documentary, 4 LITTLE GIRLS; John Leguizamo's HBO special, FREAK and a special screening of his first short feature, JOE'S BED-STUY BARBERSHOP. Director Spike Lee will appear in-person at the Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre for a discussion following the Opening Night screening of MALCOLM X. All screenings will be held in the Lloyd E. Rigler Theater at the Egyptian (6712 Hollywood Boulevard between McCadden and Las Palmas).

Since his feature film debut in 1986 with SHE'S GOTTA HAVE IT, Spike Lee has been instrumental in transforming the face of American filmmaking. SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT not only jump-started the American Independent Film scene, but gave a new and utterly distinct voice to Black Cinema. With a combination of relentless energy, attitude and just plain street smarts as well as his "family" of actors including: Giancarlo Esposito, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, John Turturro, and Denzel Washington as well as members of his own family -- father Bill, sister Joie and brothers David and Cinque, Lee has established himself as a major critical and commercial force in the industry. His production company, 40 Acres and A Mule, continues to be one of the most successful ongoing production outlets on the East Coast. As a writer, director, producer and actor -- from his first short feature, JOE’S BED-STUY BARBERSHOP: WE CUT HEADS to SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT to the landmark DO THE RIGHT THING -- Lee has placed the nature of race relations in America at the center of his frame. Fighting (both on-screen and off) the stereotypes of Blacks in film, Lee injects as much humor (and sensuality) as politics into his films – Wesley Snipes in JUNGLE FEVER, Denzel Washington in MO’ BETTER BLUES, Theresa Randle in GIRL 6 are all rich, complex characters, navigating their way through a mine field of racial, sexual and emotional issues. Lee’s work should also be noted its sheer beauty and cinematic energy. DO THE RIGHT THING or the stunning CLOCKERS serve as examples of Lee’s amazing fusion of sound and image, dazzling hip-hop rhythms and supple, expressive camerawork. Currently, Lee is finishing post-production for his upcoming film SUMMER OF SAM, scheduled for summer release by Touchstone.

 

Monday, March 15, 1999

The Monday, March 15th program begins at 7:00 PM with MALCOLM X (1992, Warner Bros., 201 min), Lee’s superb biography of the visionary black leader. This ambitious and far-reaching film is the story of a man whose words and ideas touched the lives of millions during the turbulent 1960’s. Highlighted by stunning performances from Denzel Washington as the slain civil-rights activist and Angela Bassett as his wife, MALCOLM X also features breathtaking cinematography courtesy of longtime collaborator Ernest Dickerson. The film also stars Angela Albert Hall, Al Freeman Jr., and Delroy Lindo. Spike Lee is scheduled to appear for discussion following the screening.

 

Tuesday, March 16, 1999

The Tuesday, March 16th program begins at 7:00 PM with a screening of Lee's landmark film, DO THE RIGHT THING, (1989, Universal (Swank), 120 min.). Lee’s "magnifying glass under the hot sun" masterpiece (and arguably the most controversial American film of the past 20 years), DO THE RIGHT THING is also deceptively simple. The story revolves around the comings and goings at Sal’s Famous Pizzeria on the hottest summer day in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Shot with an almost all-black crew, the film stars Lee as the hyperactive Mookie, with terrific support from Danny Aiello as Sal, Ossie Davis as Da Mayor, Giancarlo Esposito as Buggin’ Out and John Turturro as Pino. The film also stars then newcomer Rosie Perez, Ruby Dee, Bill Nunn, and Joie Lee. With music by Public Enemy. Following at 9:45 PM, is a screening of a new 35mm print of Lee's Academy Award-nominated documentary, 4 LITTLE GIRLS (1997, HBO, 102 min.). This harrowing film revisits the nightmarish bombing of a Birmingham, Alabama church in the midst of the civil rights movement in 1963, where four young black girls were killed. A stark, unyielding attack on the legacy of racism in American, 4 LITTLE GIRLS is one of Lee’s most haunting and eloquent films. "I tend to like documentaries where you don’t have a narrator, a voiceover. Just let the people tell the story" -- Spike Lee. Plus, JOE’S BED-STUY BARBERSHOP: WE CUT HEADS (1983, First Run Features, 60 min.). Lee’s NYU student film shot him to instant acclaim when it was selected for the New Directors New Films Festival. Here, he captures a beautiful, ground-zero portrait of the Bed-Stuy neighborhood he would revisit later in DO THE RIGHT THING. Score by Bill Lee.

 

Wednesday, March 17, 1999

The Wednesday, March 17th program begins at 7:00 PM with CROOKLYN (1994, Universal (Swank), 114 min.), starring Alfre Woodard and Delroy Lindo and featuring a standout performance from Zelda Harris as the 9-year old narrator of the film. CROOKLYN is a beautifully-textured look at growing up right and wrong in black America. The emotional flip side to the more explosive DO THE RIGHT THING, the film (co-written with sister Joie and brother Cinque), is Lee’s most heartfelt (and surprisingly sentimental) film: a semi-autobiographical portrait of the Carmichael family in Brooklyn in the early 1970’s. Following at 9:00 PM is a screening of a new 35 mm print of Lee's first full length feature, SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT (1986, Island (New Yorker), 84 min.). Shot for $12,000 (!), SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT is a brilliant and funny, cinema-verit look at the sex-life of Nola Darling (Tracy Camila Johns), who possesses a man's desire for sex but is cursed with a woman's body. Lee co-stars as one of Nola’s lovers, "Mars Blackmon" (the name was suggested by Spike’s grandmother!), with terrific support from sister Joie Lee as Nola’s ex-roommate. A revelation at the time for its freewheeling spirit and cool-jazz style, SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT is still one of the smartest, sexiest indie films ever made. Please baby, please baby, please baby, please!!

 

Thursday, March 18, 1999

The Thursday, March 18th program begins at 7:00 PM with JUNGLE FEVER (1991, Universal (Swank), 132 min.) with Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, John Turturro, Debi Mazar, Anthony Quinn and startling performances by Samuel L. Jackson as the drug addict brother, Gator and Halle Berry as Vivian. A mock-up of Romeo and Juliet by way of West Side Story, the film stars Wesley Snipes as Flipper Purify, a black, very married architect living in Harlem who has an affair with his white working-class secretary from Bensonhurst (Annabella Sciorra). Their affair sparks off a firestorm of sexual, cultural and interracial tensions. Subtitled From Harlem to Bensonhurst and BACK!, JUNGLE FEVER is pure Spike Lee – you can’t imagine any other director making this film. Original soundtrack by Stevie Wonder. Following at 9:30 PM is a double feature beginning with SCHOOL DAZE (1988, Columbia, 114 min.) which blasts the conspiracy of silence on the prejudice between light and dark-skinned African Americans in a funky and funny, imaginative musical/comedy/drama. The exhilarating song and dance numbers (choreographed by Otis Sallid) are some of the wildest since the heyday of the Hollywood musical. Of special note is Tisha Campbell’s mind-blowing rendition of "I Don’t Want To Be Alone Tonight" – a piece that topples over the edge into the transcendental delirium of unbridled sensuality. With charismatic performances by Larry Fishburne and Giancarlo Esposito. Followed by, GIRL 6 (1996, 20th Century Fox, 105 min.) in which Lee depicts a world of constant stimulation where race is removed from the sexual equation because partners can’t be seen – the phone sex business. "Spike’s answer to the feminists" explodes multi-racial sexual stereotypes as Judy (Theresa Randle) takes an ironic detour on the road to stardom. A brief, but intense descent into the phone sex industry transforms her into "Girl 6" where she encounters Madonna and Quentin Tarentino (as QT, a hot Hollywood director). Soundtrack by the Artist Formerly Known As Prince.

Friday, March 19, 1999

The Friday, March 19th program begins at 7:00 PM with a screening of MO’ BETTER BLUES (1990, Universal (Swank), 127 min.), Spike's answer to BIRD and AROUND MIDNIGHT. The film chronicles the jazz career (and complicated love life) of Bleek Gilliam (Denzel Washington, in his richest and most complex performance). Giant (Spike) is the comic sidekick who endangers Bleek’s career and Indigo (Joie Lee) is the woman who offers him hope for redemption. With score by Terence Blanchard and Bill Lee. "I couldn’t let Woody Allen do a jazz film before I did." -- Spike Lee. Following at 9:30 PM, is a screening of CLOCKERS (1995, Universal (Swank), 128 min.) with Isaiah Washington, Harvey Keitel, and John Turturro. In a drug-ridden housing project in Brooklyn, 16 year old "clocker" Strike (Mekhi Phifer) is ready to do anything to prove his loyalty to local drug-king Rodney (Delroy Lindo) -- even kill a rival dealer. Criminally ignored on its release, CLOCKERS may be Spike’s best movie to date – a shattering, vertigo-inducing look at the cycles of urban terror and violence. Based on the acclaimed novel by Richard Price. "Desolate, hallucinatory and fearlessly heartfelt, this is the hood movie to end all hood movies . . . Lee’s riskiest and most accomplished film." – Amy Taubin, Sight and Sound.

 

Saturday, March 20, 1999

The Saturday, March 20th program begins at 6:00 PM with an early evening screening of GET ON THE BUS (1996, Columbia, 120 min.) in which Lee uses the historic Million Man March on Washington, D.C. to question the nature and state of consciousness in the African American community. With an ensemble cast that includes Andre Braugher, DeAundre Bonds, Richard Belzer, Ossie Davis and Albert Hall, GET ON THE BUS unfolds over a three-day, two thousand mile journey across America (and across the black male psyche) -- the 18 men on board begin as strangers, but as they travel down roads long forgotten and speak words never uttered, the men slowly emerge as brothers -- solid on the common ground of friendship, history and hope. Please note the early screening time of this film. Following at 8:30 PM, is a double feature beginning with a screening of a new 35 mm print of HE GOT GAME (1998, Touchstone (Swank), 136 min.). Famous for his Nike commercials with Michael Jordan, basketball fan Spike takes a brilliant, hard-edged look at the real value of sports and family ties in HE GOT GAME – Denzel Washington stars as Jake Shuttlesworth, doing time for accidentally killing his wife. He’ll see his sentence reduced if he can persuade his son Jesus (Ray Allen), the number one high school basketball player in America, to sign with the Governor’s High School. Followed by, FREAK (1998, HBO, 90 min.), a Spike Lee directed version of John Leguizamo’s one-man show for HBO. Here, Leguizamo tackles (with hilarious, manic energy) the pros and cons of growing up Latino in America. The special is a terrific collaboration from two unique and unpredictable talents.

A complete calendar/flyer listing of these films has been mailed to you. For ticket information publish the number 323.466.3456, ext. 2. Box office opens one hour before the first show of the day.

BLACK & WHITE PHOTOS, PRESS KITS AND INTERVIEWS WITH SERIES GUESTS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST. MOST OF THESE FILMS ARE AVAILABLE ON TAPE COMMERCIALLY FOR PRESS PREVIEW .

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WE DO NOT HAVE GUARANTEED PRESS PASSES TO PUBLIC SCREENINGS. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE ADVANCE PRESS SCREENINGS.

you 323.466.3456, ext. 2. Tior www.americancinematheque.com for program information! Both web addresses go to the same homepage. Our offices have not moved to the theatre.

The Egyptian is handicap accessible. There is parking in lots on McCadden and Las Palmas north and south of Hollywood Boulevard. On Cherokee, (1 block east of the theatre and 1 block North of Hollywood Boulevard) there is a Municipal lot that is FREE for TWO HOURS and $1 for each additional hour.

Established in 1984, the American Cinematheque, is a non-profit, viewer-supported film exhibition and cultural organization dedicated to the celebration of the Moving Picture in all its forms. The Cinematheque presents film and video programming which ranges from the classics and world cinemas to the outer frontiers of the art form at the Egyptian Theatre. Exhibition of rare works, special prints within our series, etc., combined with fascinating post-screening discussions with the filmmakers who created the work, are a Cinematheque tradition that keep audiences coming back for once-in-a-lifetime cinema experiences. The American Cinematheque renovated and re-opened the historic 1922 Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard as a permanent home. The theatre, which re-opened December 4, 1998, is a state-of-the-art, 618-seat theatre housed within Sid Grauman’s first grand movie palace on Hollywood Boulevard. The exotic courtyard is fully restored to its 1922 grandeur. The Egyptian was the home of the very first Hollywood movie premiere in 1922. Please call for photos or press kits. To learn how you can help preserve this historic landmark by contributing to the capital campaign, please call 323.466.3456, ext. 111.

 

THE PROGRAM IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE.

 

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