Some “white” critics see “Do the Right Thing” as inciting violence
And the black and white poster with a picture from the movie “Do the Right Thing” for the head of the festival jury for this session, Spike Lee, which was presented in 1989, so why this movie, and why Spike Lee?
do the right thing
“Do the Right Thing” is the third feature film in Spike Lee’s directorial career, and the first film for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, which he won several decades later.
The film received excellent critical reviews, and was considered by Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, two major critics, the best films of 1989, and one of the best films of the entire eighties.
In this film, “Lee” continued in the same line, which he followed for himself, and has remained on it until today, which is to present films about African-American communities, films that actually resemble them, with the contradictions that this community holds, different stories, and various characters.
and again also back to New York and Brooklyn; But instead of the somewhat educated society that his first film focused on, this time the focus of the events is the residents of a poor street, most of his children and youth spending their summer in the street looking for some fun and a few problems for sure, and the cornerstone of the film and the residents of the neighborhood is a pizza restaurant “Sal”, which is An American man of Italian descent has owned the restaurant for many years, runs it with his two sons, and works for “Muki” – played by Spike Lee – in home delivery.
Anti-racism movie and poster
The story touches directly with the underlying racism between blacks and whites in the United States, even though Sal and his children are the only whites in the neighborhood; However, they are treated all the time as the finest.
Sal’s character in particular is the most complex of the film’s characters. He is closely related to the neighborhood more than just being the owner of a restaurant in it. However, he sympathizes with the poor, and loves being a witness to different generations of children, who have turned into men thanks to his pizza; But this kindness of his heart is mixed with the racism of his sense of distinction; Because he is white among blacks, who offers them different food, as well as for his certainty that in his neighborhood he will not be able to meet this success, because he will be just an Italian American in the neighborhood of everyone who has the same characteristics.
Sal’s behavior contributes greatly to the explosion of the film’s crisis, for example, he refuses to put pictures of African artists on the wall of his restaurant, and prides himself that all pictures are of Italian celebrities, rejects loud rap music, and treats his customers with constant superiority despite the fact that they are His only source of income.
On the other hand, most of the neighborhood residents succumb to this treatment of Sal with a full sense of their entitlement to it. Which brings us back to what the social theorist Pierre Bourdieu called “habitus,” and this term means the belief of a group in their entitlement to ill-treatment or racial discrimination against them; Because they have been accustomed to it for many decades, and that character has become ingrained in themselves.
The biggest crisis occurs when a small number of people begin to rebel against Sal’s insulting style, the first of them is “Bojin”, Moki’s friend, who demands the placement of pictures of celebrities of African descent as long as the restaurant is all its customers belong to this race, and when Sal violently refuses, he decides to boycott the restaurant, and invites His neighborhood residents ignore him, and only “Rahim” and “Smiley” with special mental needs agree, who invites his neighborhood to buy pictures of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, both of whom are the most important activists against racial discrimination against blacks. in the United States.
Things escalate in the final sequences when Pugin, Radio Rahim and Smiley go to Sal, announcing their boycott of the restaurant, and their rejection of his racist behavior, and Rahim’s cassette is broken, and the situation ends with the arrival of the police and the killing of the latter, then the residents of the neighborhood revolt against Sal.
Although “Do the Right Thing” was critically acclaimed when it was released; But he did get some bad reviews at the same time; But this is not for technical reasons, as much as the choice of “Muke” in the end, some “white” critics saw that the film incites violence, and that the ending sequels may lead to riots among the people of African descent.
On the other hand and really ironic from the opinions of these critics, the film is actually based on real events, as there are more than one incidents in which the police killed citizens of African descent in events even less severe than what happened in Sal’s restaurant.
And even today, and we are in 2021, last year the incident of “George Floyd”, who was killed by a policeman under his feet in front of eyewitnesses in the Internet era, and then began protests and demonstrations by blacks and whites in protest against American racism that continues to this day, so that this poster comes to reinforce From the revolutionary decision of those in charge of “Cannes”, who not only chose the president of the jury of African descent; Rather, they honored his most important films by placing him on the festival poster.