This presentation brings together an American play and an American film inspired by Greek plays: Aeschylus’s Suppliants and Aristophanes’s Lysistrata. Charles Mee’s gripping drama Big Love (2000) animates the plot of The Suppliants to explore the violence of the American socio-economic sex/gender system, moving from male violence to female violence to catharsis to peace. The title of Spike Lee’s brilliant, urgent, visionary utopian film Chi-Raq (2015) names Chicago’s horrific neighborhood gang wars and America’s imperial violence in one angry word and empowers its heroine, Lysistrata, to organize the neighborhood women to seize arms, treasure and the power of language in order to stop the gang warfare that, in real life as in the film, destroys children and young men in our city every day. If time permits, this presentation could focus entirely on Chi-Raq and include a screening and discussion of the film, with questions partly shaped by my notes on Spike Lee’s talk to and with an audience of about 1000 people following a screening of Chi-Raq at Northwestern (2 March 2016).
- eric.dayre [at] ens-lyon.fr (Eric Dayre), professeur à l'ENS de Lyon
- vanessa.guignery [at] ens-lyon.fr (Vanessa Guignery), professeur à l'ENS de Lyon