Monday, April 23, 2007
We just finished watching When The Levees Broke, Spike Lee's outstanding 3 disc documentary about Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans. It was brilliant: both eye opening and heart wrenching, but also tender, passionate, and angry. We hear from a huge range of people from working class residents of the lower 9th ward to middle class musicians and professionals to the mayor New Orleans and governor of Louisiana and everyone has a story to tell. Both local and federal governments are soundly condemned, but individual acts of courage and strength are honored and celebrated through the telling of these stories. The film is not in any way without its biases, but we got plenty of that in the mainstream reporting of Katrina and its aftermath. After all the stories turning Katrina survivors into nameless, faceless, frightening poor folks somewhere far away this film is refreshing in its depth and candor and moments of pure beauty despite the grim subject matter.