‘Chi-Raq’ Trailers Introduce Spike Lee’s Bold Retelling of an Ancient Greek Play
We’ve been blessed with not just one, but two new Spike Lee films this year, both retellings of established stories, and both very different kinds of movies. Following the release of Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (based on the cult classic Ganja and Hess) earlier this year, Lee returns with Chi-Raq — based on the ancient Greek comedy Lysistrata, the film also happens to be Amazon’s first original production, and we have two new trailers for the ambitious project.
Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett and more, Chi-Raq is based on an ancient Greek play that first appeared sometime around 400 B.C. The play centers on the eponymous character Lysistrata, who is struck with an epiphany that inspires her with a daring idea to end the Peloponnesian War. Her idea? Get the Greek women to abstain from having sex with their husbands until the men agree to put down their swords. It is truly brilliant.
The theatrical dialogue marries well to Lee’s confrontational style, which often feels like filmed theatre, and Chi-Raq looks like it could very well be Lee’s best work in years. Teyonah Parris (Mad Men, Dear White People) plays the contemporary Lysistrata in the new film, in which Lee takes an avant-garde approach to subject matter that is incredibly culturally relevant.
In the second trailer, Lee offers an introduction that addresses the reactions to the first trailer, clarifying that Chi-Raq is not a comedy, but a satire, which takes an intellectual and respectful approach to modernizing the Greek source material in the context of contemporary violence:
Chi-Raq is a modern day adaptation of the ancient Greek play “Lysistrata” by Aristophanes. After the murder of a Child by a stray bullet, a group of women led by Lysistrata organize against the on-going violence in Chicago’s Southside creating a movement that challenges the nature of race, sex and violence in America and around the world.
Chi-Raq also stars John Cusack, Wesley Snipes, Nick Cannon and Jennifer Hudson, and arrives in theaters on December 4 before debuting exclusively on Amazon Prime.