This Friday the Terrace Theater will begin showing Spike Lee’s latest flick, Chi-Raq. The film is a modern-day adaptation of the Greek play Lysistrata, a comedy in which one woman attempts to stop the Peloponnesian War by encouraging wives to refuse to have sex with their husbands. Lee sets his story in Chicago, specifically the south side neighborhood of Englewood, where girlfriends and wives of gang members refuse to have sex with their men until the violence stops. In short, as the movie’s subtitle declares, “No Peace, No Piece.”
Terrace Theater owner Paul Brown says that the Terrace is the only theater in South Carolina currently screening Chi-Raq (or Chiraq, another term for Chicago) which was released nationwide last Fri. Dec. 4. “The Terrace has always tried to focus in on director when deciding upon various films to exhibit. I’ve been an admirer of Spike Lee’s movies, and though [we] have lost contact with some more recent films, we felt that this film fit right in,” says Brown.
Chi-Raq has received mixed reviews. A Chicago Tribune review said that Lee glossed over the true violence in today’s crime-ridden Chicago: “And there’s certainly no shock value for people who live in violence-prone neighborhoods. In fact, the movie pales compared with what it’s like in the real Chiraq. Lee spared us the discomfort of seeing residents living behind iron-clad doors and windows, afraid to go outside after dark. We didn’t meet the children who risk their lives just by walking a block or two to school.”
In an article yesterday, NPR rounded up both critical and positive reviews, referencing one New York Times writer who called the film, “highly fictional and painfully real, geographically specific, and unmistakably metaphoric.” Chance the Rapper, on the other hand, tweeted, “The idea that women abstaining from sex would stop murders is offensive and a slap in the face to any mother that lost a child here.”
As for Brown, well, he’s excited to see what kind of discussions the film inspires, saying that it feels topical not just to Chicago, but to Charleston as well. “We are looking forward to the response and feedback from our customers,” he says.
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