Malcolm X

August 18, 2007 at 3:06 pm Leave a comment

 This week Raccoon and I watched Spike Lee‘s Malcolm X. Raccoon’s post is here.

A bravura performance all around. I left Malcolm X with some admixture of awe, and sadness. I’ve not seen a film that as admirably manages to capture some of the force of a remarkable life. To know him is to lose him. And that palpable sense of loss is difficult to discuss as though I were writing about a film, and not about a comrade.

At the conclusion of the film there is a transition from Denzel Washington and Malcolm X’s narrative, to straight documentary and a classroom of school children in New York, each of whom say “I’m Malcolm X.” I find the classroom a perfect place for the children to identify in this way. Part of Malcolm X’s work is (present tense) teaching the power of education–of reading, and being able to see through specious arguments meant to limit and control one’s ability resist, and to love. They’re synonyms really.

It’s love as resistance that conjoins Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, and is perhaps why Spike Lee groups them together in various ways in both Do the Right Thing and Malcolm X. We’re lucky to have a director as smart as Spike Lee to keep visible their enduring gifts.


Entry filed under: Film, film notes, Malcolm X, movie, Spike Lee, thurs afternoon.

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