Director Spike Lee knows how to push buttons. And his new film, Chiraq, is expected to push some sensitive buttons very hard. The title, Chiraq, is a combination of Chicago and Iraq. The film explores a troubled inner-city Chicago riven by violence. As usual with Lee, the movie already has some people upset. At a church on Sunday, Lee pointed out that the reactionary response to his film comes from “people don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.” Actor John Cusack says Chiraq is a film of “conscience.”
Lee’s work — from Do The Right Thing to Malcolm X to School Daze and beyond– has had a pervasive impact on the perception of race and class in America. Spike Lee has consistently explored his subjects with dignity. Lee knows how difficult it is to get real publicity behind a film — perhaps especially a film of conscience. The controversy only helps him. Chiraq is currently filming in Chicago.