The producer of the film is Spike Lee. The producer in his films delves head first into issues dealing with the fragility of the Bed-Stuy, existence of Brooklyn, particularly racism and the tenuous undercurrents of bigotry that is in what are referred to as melting pot communities such as those found in the metropolitan New York area. Even though tolerance is maintained normally and no one especially a person who is bad, the feeling are always bubbling just right under the surface, and always threatening to spill out but only if push should come to shove. This is what actually happens at a key point of Spike Lee’s film.
The film has a large cast of characters but the producer imbues each of the characters with enough personality. This helps the viewer to keep track of who everyone is throughout the film. Most of action in the film takes place around: Sal’s Pizzeria an Italian-American establishment in the predominantly Africa America community for more than 25 years. It is run by Sal together with his two sons, younger sibling, Vito and elder Pino. Sal’s delivery person is Mookie who is Lee himself who have issues getting distracted while about and out especially to get time to deal with his girlfriend who is needy and his son who is illegitimate.
Every street corner is filled with a collection of characters including a militant who is referred as Buggin Out who thinks that Sal needs to put some Africa Americans among the pictures on his Wall of Fame and a wino who is referred as Da Mayor and Smiley, who is a mentally challenged man. This film is a complex study of the dichotomies of day to day life among the various people in Bed-Stuy and also for communities such as those around the whole country.
The different ethnicities which are mixing with African Americans raise serious concerns about the survival of inhabitants. This is because businesses that exist are owned primarily by those people who are outside Bed-Stuy for instance the Korean store owner and Sal who usually take money out of the community. Businesses which are owned by black people are hardly found. They rarely exist. Prevalent in this film is the recurring conflicting themes which are notably in the different philosophies among the two black leaders who are most prominent.
They are the self preservation proponent, Malcolm X and the peace espousing martin Luther King. Within nearly all of the African American cast members the feeling exist which is embodied most in Radio Raheem who wears finger jewelries on each hand one of ‘Hate’ and one of ‘Love’. The two sons of Sal are also on opposite extremes with the younger sibling, Vito, feeling more at home and even befriending Mookie as if he were his brother while Pino is feeling nothing but disgust for the black community and he has to endure every day running the business.
The heat wave in which the film is set in accentuates the rising tensions of the community because everyone must go outside for the little bit of air they can get thus making everyone uncomfortable and also on the edge. Lot of reddish hues has also been added to the real life of Bedford-Stuyvesant community which further accentuates the feeling of heat which is permeating the community. Earnest Dickerson the cinematographer has done a masterful job in capturing the beauty of the community which is not known exactly for post card perfect scenery.
The cinematographer has changed what would have looked mundane and earthy into vibrant as well as colorfully eye popping. Even though the characters in this film have defined functions, mostly serving as archetypes from which thematic conclusions can be drawn, they also do a fantastic job in filling out their roles and they thus give each of the Bed-Stuy denizens a rounded outlook on life. The bed-Stuy denizens are not completely painted positive light or negative but their true colors do come out very well often when they talk in the heat of a riot situation or behind the closed doors.
This is an important film for foreshadowing major events, a pivotal era and other lesser flare ups that have occurred in other communities in which many establishments are set ablaze or vandalized following feelings of great injustice at hands of those who are in authority. It is can be said to be a controversial film but it provokes debate and discussion. This film is also ambiguous because the fist of Hate and the hand of Love are used to serve similar purposes.
Bibliography Lee, S. (Director). (1989). Do the Right Thing [Motion Picture].