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Anyone Seen Spike Lee's "When the Levees Broke"?

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Anyone Seen Spike Lee's "When the Levees Broke"?

Old 10-26-09, 09:35 AM
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Anyone Seen Spike Lee's "When the Levees Broke"?

I watched act 1 and 2 of this documentary on the Katrina disaster over the weekend, and was left with mixed emotions.

The documentary is well crafted with shocking images of the devastation and interviews with locals who recount the horrors and frustration with the lack of response. I admired Lee in Act I for showing a somewhat non-biased portray of events. For example, he shows the looting that went on. Scenes of a Walmart literally cleaned out and kids riding bikes up and down the aisles. A shot of the major hospital with the parking lot cars literally under water really showed the level of flooding to me. I found myself imaging what it must have felt like to be in the Superdome, feeling safe at first, the devastation and horrific conditions later as the place became a literal cesspool and place of death.

In Act 2, Lee also doesn't put all the blame on Bush. Ray Nagin handled the situation poorly, and we get to hear his profanity laced angry rant at the lack of federal response.

I had praise for this film up until the last part of Act 2. The film starts talking about one of the worst elements of Katrina, dead rotting bodies in the streets or floating in the water. Then we get to see it. Photo after photo of the dead bodies. Some covered, some fully exposed. Even a close up shot of one bloated body standing right at the camera.

I was sickened as the sequence just went on and on. I never want to watch that again. It is wrong and explotiative to show that to the viewer, IMO. He could have shown a few shots of covered up bodies to get the same point across. Not sure if I want to stomach the rest of this film.
Old 10-26-09, 09:59 AM
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Re: Anyone Seen Spike Lee's "When the Levees Broke"?

It's definitely hard to watch, but I think he made the right choice to show those images on screen. I don't think it would have had nearly the same effect had he censored the footage (meaning, cutting that stuff out; not blurring it out). Just my opinion, of course, but for a documentary that's specifically about the negative effects of Hurricane Katrina, its mission was to show the viewers at home exactly what people were seeing in 2005. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, the network news channels were all showing that same footage. This documentary, on the other hand, came out almost a year later, and aired on HBO.
Old 10-26-09, 10:14 AM
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Re: Anyone Seen Spike Lee's "When the Levees Broke"?

I have no issues whatsoever showing those images. And your reaction is one of the reasons why, People need to know how real it is, sometimes it takes us being shocked to have it really hit home.
Old 10-26-09, 10:53 AM
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Re: Anyone Seen Spike Lee's "When the Levees Broke"?

You lost me at "Spike Lee".
Old 10-26-09, 11:08 AM
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Re: Anyone Seen Spike Lee's "When the Levees Broke"?

Nope. But I've seen "Kobe Doin Work" like 5 times.

But seriously, I saw part of it when it first came on HBO. Good documentary but definitely hard to watch.
Old 10-26-09, 11:50 AM
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Re: Anyone Seen Spike Lee's "When the Levees Broke"?

I've seen the doc a few times and shown it in my film classes. As Lee mentions in the commentary track, most of the images of dead bodies were not seen in the US but they were seen overseas. It's really difficult to watch but, Katrina was human tragedy and those images make it real.

The rest of the doc which deals with the aftermath and "rebuilding" process isn't as graphic but is just as heartbreaking IMO.
Old 10-26-09, 04:07 PM
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Re: Anyone Seen Spike Lee's "When the Levees Broke"?

Imagine watching Night & Fog without the footage of the dead.
Old 10-27-09, 11:00 AM
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Re: Anyone Seen Spike Lee's "When the Levees Broke"?

I have only seen it once. It was a very hard hitting documentary and made me think about what I would do in that kind of situation.
Old 10-27-09, 02:27 PM
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Re: Anyone Seen Spike Lee's "When the Levees Broke"?

Originally Posted by Tarantino
You lost me at "Spike Lee".

Anyway, you're ignoring a pretty riveting -- and surprisingly balanced -- account of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. The scenes of devastation are heartbreaking.

Required viewing, IMO.
Old 10-27-09, 05:40 PM
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Re: Anyone Seen Spike Lee's "When the Levees Broke"?

Hey OP, don't watch the opening credits of Clockers.

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