New York on Film: Do the Right Thing

When: Thursday, January 11, 2024, 6:30pm

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Spike Lee as Mookie walks down the street as people hang out on their stoops in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Still from "Do The Right Thing"

Don't miss our 35th anniversary screening of Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989, 120 min)!  Set on one block of Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy "Do or Die" neighborhood at the height of summer, this 1989 Spike Lee joint confirmed Lee as a writer and filmmaker of peerless vision and passionate social engagement.

Over the course of a single day, the easygoing interactions of a cast of unforgettable characters—Da Mayor, Mother Sister, Mister Señor Love Daddy, Tina, Sweet Dick Willie, Buggin Out, Radio Raheem, Sal, Pino, Vito, and Lee’s Mookie among them—give way to heated confrontations as tensions rise along racial fault lines, ultimately exploding into violence. Punctuated by the anthemic refrain of Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” Do the Right Thing stars Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Rosie Perez, John Turturro, Roger Guenveur Smith, John Savage, Danny Aiello, Giancarlo Esposito, Bill Nunn, Richard Edson, Spike and Joie Lee.

Introduction by film scholar and author Racquel Gates.

This screening is part 2 of the 1980s installment of our year-long series, New York on Film: Decade by Decade, programmed by Jessica Green. The series accompanies the Museum's centennial exhibition, This Is New York: 100 Years of the City in Art and Pop Culture.  

    About  the speaker:
    Racquel Gates is an Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies at Columbia University. Her research focuses on blackness and popular culture, with special attention to discourses of taste and quality. She is the author of Double Negative: The Black Image and Popular Culture (Duke, 2018) and is currently working on her second book, titled Hollywood Style and the Invention of Blackness. In addition to her scholarly publications, she has also written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and is a frequent contributor to The Criterion Collection. In 2020, she was named an Academy Film Scholar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

    About the series programmer: 
    Jessica Green is an independent film programmer currently programming film, speaker, and performance series for BAM, the Weeksville Heritage Center, and the Museum of the City of New York. Jessica served as the Artistic Director of the Houston Cinema Arts Society from 2019-2022, providing artistic leadership for year-round film programming and the Houston Cinema Arts Festival, Houston’s largest film festival. She was the Cinema Director of the Maysles Documentary Center in Harlem from 2008-2018. Jessica is also a former founder, owner and Editor-In-Chief of the New York-based, independent Hip-Hop magazine Stress (1994-2001), as well as the former Executive Editor of (2000-2005).

    New York on Film is the centennial year edition of the Museum's ongoing Moonlight & Movies series.

    Important Event Logistics 

    • Please contact with any questions or ticketing issues.
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    Moonlight & Movies is made possible in part by Sophia and Peter J. Volandes.

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