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How well do you know Spike Lee? You know his films. She’s Gotta Have It (1986 and the 2017 Netflix Original TV series), Do the Right Thing (1989) and Jungle Fever (1991) to Malcolm X (1992) and Inside Man (2006), the African-American director, producer, writer and actor is a trailblazer of contemporary cinema and he continues to cross cultural divides with each project. Spike’s 2018 hit BlacKkKlansman – the almost unbelievable true story of a black police detective infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan – achieved both critical and popular acclaim. This journey into “white America’s heart of darkness” (New York Times) won the Grand Prix du Jury at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, was nominated for both Best Picture and Best Director at the 2019 Academy Awards® and won the Oscar® for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Spanning a 40 year career, Spike’s films are a potent cocktail of racial tension, urban violence and controversy sparked with comedy. As an oeuvre, they make as much of a contribution to politics as to pop culture. Few directors in possession of such daring cross-over into the mainstream. Fewer still attain cult status.
In this Vivid Ideas exclusive, which also marks his first time in Australia, Spike Lee reveals his celebrated body of work and personal views in conversation with Rhoda Roberts AO, one of Australia’s leading arts and festival producers, TV and radio journalist and currently the Head of Indigenous Programming at the Sydney Opera House. With his trademark wicked humour, hear him talk candidly and with authority about issues of race in the media and Hollywood. Most of all, imagine what you can do with his insights on film-making that takes the message far beyond the screen into popular consciousness.
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