Red Hook Summer

“During an expletive-laden tirade that followed the Sundance premiere of his new self-financed indie production RED HOOK SUMMER, Spike Lee instructed the audience to go out and tell the world that it isn’t a motherfing sequel to DO THE RIGHT THING. OK, mission accomplished, Spike but I have to use some other word to describe the relationship then. Companion piece? Granddaughter? Distant Southern cousin? Lee shows us Red Hook through the eyes and frequently the iPad of Silas, aka Flick, a sheltered private-school kid from Atlanta who’s been shipped north to spend the summer with his Brooklyn grandfather, Bishop Enoch, minister of a tiny, struggling old-school Baptist congregation in an enclave of black Brooklyn increasingly hemmed in by redevelopment and gentrification. As Flick navigates his uneasy relationship with his grandfather, the local gangbangers and upstanding citizens and his tentative friendship with a brazen, fast-talking project girl (the irresistible Toni Lysaith), Lee’s various themes regarding race, poverty, religious faith and the internal conflicts of African-American society come into focus. This is an unpolished, loosey-goosey, street-level film, a passionate, painful, tragic, haunting love letter to Brooklyn and New York City, to black America and the black church, to the possibility of childhood innocence in rough circumstances. I found it tremendously moving,—”Andrew O’Hehir, Salon. R. 135 Min.

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