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By Any Means Necessary: A Spike Lee Joints Retrospective

The Academy celebrates the visual imagination, fearlessly intelligent discourse on race relations, and edgy, energetic style of writer-director-actor Spike Lee with a month-long retrospective of his work. Screenings will be held at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater and LACMA’s Bing Theater and will include a 25th anniversary celebration of Do the Right Thing, featuring an onstage discussion with Lee and cast and crew members. July screenings will be introduced by special guests. Lee, who won a Student Academy Award in 1983 for his NYU master’s thesis Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads (Ernest Dickerson and Ang Lee both worked on the film, and Lee’s father composed the score), has earned two Oscar nominations: in 1989 for his original screenplay for Do the Right Thing, and in 1997 for his acclaimed documentary 4 Little Girls. In conjunction with the retrospective, on-set photography by David Lee, Spike’s brother, will be on display in the Linwood Dunn Theater Lobby Gallery.

25th Hour
Thursday, June 26

Spike Lee and Danny Aiello

As the clocks ticks down on his last day of freedom for seven long years, drug dealer Monty Brogan (Edward Norton) bids farewell to the life he knew and the colorful characters that peopled it: his crestfallen father (Brian Cox), stockbroker best friend Frank (Barry Pepper), hapless English teacher Jacob (Philip Seymour Hoffman), and girlfriend Naturelle (Rosario Dawson).   More

Do The Right Thing
Friday, June 27

Spike Lee and Danny Aiello

A single block in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood on summer's hottest day is the setting of Spike Lee's groundbreaking third feature. A stylish and electric comedy-drama, Do the Right Thing stars the writer-director as Mookie, a delivery man for pizza parlor owner Sal, whose restaurant becomes a flashpoint for racial unrest.   More

She's Gotta Have It
Friday, July 11

Tracy Camila Johns

Tracy Camila Johns plays Nola Darling, a young woman refreshingly open and comfortable about her sexuality, who weighs the merits of her three very different lovers (including Lee himself in his scene-stealing, feature-acting debut as "Mars Blackmon").   More

Friday, July 11

Tommy Davidson

Damon Wayans stars as Pierre Delacroix, an uptight, Ivy League-educated TV writer who proposes a modern-day minstrel show as a protest against television portrayals of African Americans, only to see his series become an unexpected and unironic ratings blockbuster.   More

Bad 25
Sunday, July 13

Michael Jackson

This critically acclaimed documentary takes a 25th anniversary look at Michael Jackson's blockbuster 1987 album Bad. Spike Lee's exhaustive exploration of Jackson and his music includes behind-the-scenes footage of Bad's recording, along with extensive interviews with many of Jackson's musical collaborators.   More

Malcolm X
Friday, July 18

Denzel Washington

Adapting a screenplay written in the late 1960s by Arnold Perl and an uncredited James Baldwin, Lee explored the many phases of Malcolm's personal and political life, from his childhood to his assassination in 1965, in a lavish yet intimate production featuring evocative recreations of Harlem in the 1940s as well as location footage shot in Mecca and South Africa.   More

4 Little Girls
Sunday, July 20

Alpha Robertson

Lee's first feature-length documentary investigates the murders of four children in a 1963 church bombing in Alabama, a tragedy that proved to be an inciting event of the Civil Rights movement. Lee explores the culture of racism that led to the girls' deaths, and his extensive interviews with the family members give heartbreaking testimony to the promise of young lives cut short.   More

Inside Man
Friday, July 25

Clive Owen

Denzel Washington, working with Lee for the fourth time, plays a New York hostage negotiator brought in to mediate a tense situation when a mysterious criminal (Clive Owen) and his masked team take the customers and staff of a Manhattan bank hostage.   More

Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads
Friday, July 25

Monty Ross

Lee won a Student Academy Award for this hour-long film, which he made as his master's thesis for NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Monty Ross (who would go on to co-produce several of Lee's features, including Do the Right Thing and Malcolm X) plays a Brooklyn barbershop owner who must decide whether to allow racketeers access to his shop in order to keep his business open.   More

Mo' Better Blues
Sunday, July 27

Denzel Washington

Lee teamed up with star Denzel Washington for the first time in this stylish and erotic drama about a jazz trumpeter torn between his music and the women in his life. Lee wrote the script with Washington in mind, feeling that historical dramas had done little to tap the actor’s potential as a romantic lead, and he sought to avoid the dark storylines of most films about jazz musicians.   More


Event Information

June 27–July 27, 2014
Bing Theater
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles

Linwood Dunn Theater
1313 Vine Street

$5 general admission
$3 Academy members, LACMA Film Club members and students with a valid ID.

Tickets go on sale Friday, June 27.

Words of Praise

There is an excitement in being in a "Spike Lee Joint," and the ones that Ossie and I worked in were among some of our most deeply satisfying assignments. The brother delivers with enormous sensitivity, with often unique insights, with his particular delivery and honesty. He opens up so much about us all—incredible mysteries, about being these same-different kinds of humans. Who we are/were want/hope to do/be. It is immensely satisfying to know that, 25 years later, Spike is still Doing the Right Thing.
— Ruby Dee


Spike Lee is not only one of the best filmmakers in America, but one of the most crucially important, because his films address the central subject of race. He doesn't use sentimentality or political clichés, but shows how his characters live, and why.
— Roger Ebert

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