Thursday, February 27, 2014

Spike Lee Quotes

1. It has been my observation that parents kill more dreams than anybody.

2. I get offered to do stuff where the money's nice but it's not something I want to do - I get offered a lot of commercials too.

3. You just have to be on good terms with the actors and talk stuff out beforehand. A perfect example is "She Hate Me" - I had many different discussions with many different women, and also with (the actor) Anthony Mackie, so they knew. And this was before they even agreed to do the film. But actors want to know - "Here, it says they make love. What type of acts are we talking about? What's going to be seen?" I have no problem with that. At the same time, I still want to allow myself some flexibility. But shooting a sex scene is very mechanical - "Will you move this way? That way? Raise your leg?" And for the most part the crew isn't allowed to be there - I close the set, make it as comfortable as possible.

4. "Do the Right Thing" was like the first film where I really felt comfortable working with actors.

5. I respect the audience's intelligence a lot, and that's why I don't try to go for the lowest common denominator.

6. I think people who have faults are a lot more interesting than people who are perfect.

7. I live in New York City, the stories of my films take place in New York; I'm a New York filmmaker.

8. Violence is a part of America. I don't want to single out rap music. Let's be honest. America's the most violent country in the history of the world, that's just the way it is. We're all affected by it.

9. Any film I do is not going to change the way black women have been portrayed, or black people have been portrayed, in cinema since the days of D.W. Griffith.

10. First of all, what in this world does not revolve around money? But money is a big part of film, unlike a lot of other art forms.

11. I always give the example, if you turn on the radio today, black radio, Lenny Kravitz is not black. Bob Marley wasn't black: in the beginning, only white college stations played Bob Marley.

12. Right now a lot of people are still choosing to go to Toronto instead of shooting in New York City, something I haven't done and something I hope I'll never have to do.

13. Racism is when you have laws set up, systematically put in the way to keep people from advancing, to stop the advancement of a people. Black people have never had the power to enforce racism, and so this is something that white America is going to have to work out themselves. If they decide they want to stop it, curtail it, or to do the right thing then it will be done, but not until then.

14. I tend to favor films that have multiple plot and story lines, multiple characters and ensemble pieces.

15. I'm just trying to tell a good story and make thought-provoking, entertaining films. I just try and draw upon the great culture we have as a people, from music, novels, the streets.

16. Wim Wenders had better watch out 'cause I'm waiting for his ass. Somewhere deep in my closet I have a Louisville Slugger bat with Wenders' name on it.

17. We grew up in a very creative environment and were exposed to the arts at a very young age, so it's not a surprise that all of us are in some form of the arts.

18. A lot of times you get credit for stuff in your movies you didn't intend to be there.

19. I don't like acting; not in front of the camera.

20. What's the difference between Hollywood characters and my characters? Mine are real.

21. There's a lot of Americans, black and white, who think that we've arrived where we need to be and nothing else needs to be done and affirmative action needs to be dismantled.

22. I'd like to state that Spike Lee is not saying that African American culture is just for black people alone to enjoy and cherish. Culture is for everybody.

23. Agents aren't going to get you anywhere if you aren't established.

24. If we became students of Malcolm X, we would not have young black men out there killing each other like they're killing each other now. Young black men would not be impregnating young black women at the rate going on now. We'd not have the drugs we have now, or the alcoholism.

25. There's an unwritten law that you cannot have a Jewish character in a film who isn't 100 percent perfect, or you're labeled anti-Semitic.

26. I like to work with the same people when I can, and you want to get people with the same interests that you have, and the same aesthetic.

27. I think it would be very boring dramatically to have a film where everybody was a lawyer or doctor and had no faults. To me, the most important thing is to be truthful.

28. I've been blessed with the opportunity to express the views of black people who otherwise don't have access to power and the media. I have to take advantage of that while I'm still bankable.

29. Making films has got to be one of the hardest endeavors known to humankind. Straight up and down, film work is hard sh*t.

30. I think it is very important that films make people look at what they've forgotten.

31. Don't think that because you haven't heard from me for a while that I went to sleep. I am still here, like a spirit roaming the night. Thirsty, hungry, seldom stopping to rest.

32. All directors are storytellers, so the motivation was to tell the story I wanted to tell. That's what I love.

33. (speaking out after the death of comedian Richard Pryor) He was an innovator and a trailblazer. It's a great loss.

34. Since the days of slavery, if you were a good singer or dancer, it was your job to perform for the master after dinner.

35. Fight the power that be. Fight the power.

36. What Clinton did with Monica Lewinsky does not add up to Bush lying to the world, saying, Let's invade Iraq because they've got weapons of mass destruction. It just doesn't add up. The man cheated on his wife, but nobody died. Americans are not coming home in body bags because of that.

37. I am a hybrid. I do independent films and also do Hollywood films - I love them both.

38. And one thing Hollywood does well is sequels.

39. For me, a large part of "Jungle Fever" (1991) is about sexual mythology: the mythology of a white woman being on a pedestal, the universal standard of beauty, and the mythology about the black man as sexual stud with a ten-foot d.... Buying into the mythology is not a strong foundation for a relationship.

40. My cousin Malcolm Lee is also a filmmaker.

41. We've always been proactive in having mentoring programs, having internships, trying to work with the unions so they can encourage more people of color getting into them. 

42. I don't think I'm a total pessimist, so I think you can find hope in all my films.

43. For me, I believe in God, God is real.

44. We've gone through the names-Negro, African American, African, Black. For me that's an indication of a people still trying to find their identity. Who determines what is black?

45. You have to do the research. If you don't know about something, then you ask the right people who do. With "She's Gotta Have It", I don't think I got any revelation; it was just good to hear the women whom I interviewed confirm what I thought already.

46. A lot of times, we censor ourselves before the censor even gets there.

47. Does that negate that horror to say: Well, at least Hitler's not alive now?? 

48. Before, I used to think that everything was based on race. Now class matters just as much. If you are a poor person: black, white, Latino, whatever, the Bush Administration does not have your best interests at heart. If the Government thought poor people mattered, the response (to Katrina's disaster) would have been much quicker.

49. But actresses are asked to compromise themselves, not just from the director but the producer too - "Are you going to show your t*ts or your ass?" They say that sh*t all the time. It is men making decisions. And of course they would rather have heads explode on screen than show a penis.

50. A woman who is very secure in herself, what she's about, what she wants to do, who probably figures that she's a prize catch-sooner or later he's going to come around. 

51. I don't dictate, you don't dictate to Stevie Wonder, not successfully.

52. Everything I do is always scrutinized. But that's all I'll say about that.

53. I had a great education. From kindergarten to John Dewey High School in Coney Island, I am public-school educated.

54. That's one of the frailties of the human condition-people fear that which is not familiar. 

55. It comes down to this: black people were stripped of our identities when we were brought here, and it's been a quest since then to define who we are.

56. I think that every minority in the United States of America knows everything about the dominant culture. From the time you can think, you are bombarded with images from TV, film, magazines, newspapers. It was not an issue, I didn't scratch my head and think: "How am I going to direct white actors?" I've worked with white actors before in a lot of my films, but that question has come up doing the press for this film in the States: "How was it to work with white actors, did you have a different approach?"

57. Because many advances have happened, we've lost the urgency - and that's just human nature - that we had before, when we couldn't vote, couldn't use mass transportation, or drink from the fountains.

58. Any time you talk about the look of the film, it's not just the director and the director of photography. You have to include the costume designer and the production designer.

59. I get offered to do stuff where the money's nice but it's not something I want to do - I get offered a lot of commercials too.

60. I think my work shows that I love women. I understand where these types of criticisms are coming from because black people have been so dogged out in the media, they're just extra sensitive.

61. Amongst black people, you have always heard it said that once a black man reaches a certain level, especially if you are an entertainer, you get a white trophy woman. I didn't make that up.

62. Too many people are being bowled over by Bush and Tony Blair in Britain. It's ludicrous to expect the whole world to follow what they want. America doesn't have the moral right to tell other people what to do. To say the whole world has to fall into line is you-know-what. I hope more people will rise up.

What do you think of Spike Lee quotes?

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