Check out the "Do The Right Thing"-inspired trailer (on that film’s 25th anniversary) for the upcoming Blackstar Film Festival in Philly, July 31 – August 3, produced by director of the festival Maori Holmes, shot by Rashid Zakat, and co-edited by Maya Zu Zhang and Zakat. Costumes are by Kamilah "Ethel Cee" Clarke and choreography is by Melanie Cotton. It was shot on location in North Philadelphia.
It did also remind me of an old piece I wrote on the old S&A site 4 years ago or so, on memorable title sequences. And the one that I highlighted was the title sequence in Spike Lee’s "Do The Right Thing."
It’s a film that stands the test of time, and the 4-minute title intro alone could be its own film (the film before the film, so to speak). Rosie Perez – fueled by Chuck D’s coarse, urgent voice and lyrics, and Terminator X’s beats – literally fights the power, as the tracks title suggests.
Her colorful (literally and figuratively) dance routine exudes a range of emotions – simultaneously oozing sexuality and sensuality, combined with a confidence, vulnerability and ferocity, all in an expression of power and struggle, clueing the audience in to what kind of a ride to expect for the subsequent 2 hours.
And I think this will always be remembered as one of the most unforgettable opening title sequences in film history. No CGI, no elaborate camera movements, no trickery. It’s simple enough, but it works!
And when the 4 minutes ends, you feel sufficiently open and invigorated for whatever comes next.
Refresh your memory of it all with the Philly-set Blackstar Film Festival trailer below, and underneath that, you’ll find the original from the Brooklyn-set "Do The Right Thing."
Then go to http://blackstarfest.org/ for the rest of the story.