Wednesday, August 23, 2006

SJI In The News

We don't have HBO, so I guess we'll be waiting for the DVD version of When The Levees Broke. I'm looking forward to seeing it at some point, for a lot of reasons, one of which is that it has a "St. James Infirmary" moment. I've already mentioned that, but it comes up again in this week's installment of ... "SJI In The News."

This writeup of Spike Lee's documentary on (?), includes this mention:

The film leaves many lasting images: Wynton Marsalis singing a wry version of ``St. James Infirmary,'' residents making boats out of refrigerators, an elderly black woman wrapped in an American flag. Lee, who uses a great deal of archived footage, includes many dead bodies, some swollen to grotesque and almost cartoonish size.

And a review from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram includes this:

Though "Levees" is divided into four parts, roughly running from nervous anticipation yet poor preparation for the storm's arrival, to the troubled and time-consuming recovery, each overlaps the other in a blur of haunting imagery: trumpeter Terence Blanchard's mother breaking down as she visits her home for the first time after the storm; Wynton Marsalis dolefully singing a snatch of "St. James Infirmary"; the dead bodies in the flooded streets.

On a separate note, I've also been hearing from various friends down in N.O. who have seen the film. Here is one comment:

You're so lucky that you are not here for the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. I'm sick to my stomach with all the stuff. A person can't escape it. Since everyone was in shock last year, the "tributes" are so overwrought that it seems that people are trying to "cash in". As Bob French said this morning on his program on WWOZ, "there is nothing to celebrate...what happened to New Orleans is disgusting."

Anyway, hope you had a chance to see Spike Lee's work last night (second piece tonight) on HBO. He nailed the tone. I guess it's his maturity as a filmmaker that allowed him to capture the catastrophe and (I think) his understanding of what led up to the events last year.