Spike Lee’s best film this century is not 25th Hour; it’s not Inside Man; I’ll defend Oldboy but, come on; it’s definitely not American Utopia; and whatever a legacy Oscar tells you, it’s not BlacKkKlansman. The true masterwork is When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, his 255-minute exploration of a city in times of unfathomable crisis, neglect, and strength—sometimes a difficult watch, more than once marked by horrific images of disaster, but as life-affirming as anything to which he’ll ever put his name. It’s on the same format you used to watch seven hour of The White Lotus and nicely broken into two parts. Go.
All this is a wind-up to say we cannot wait for NYC Epicenters: 9/11-> 2021½, a 20-year chronicle of the city Lee’s captured like few artists in any medium. More than 200 people were interviewed—”first responders, politicians, and journalists alongside Lee and his own family and friends,” among them Steve Buscemi, Jon Stewart, Rosie Perez, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Chuck Schumer, Bill De Blasio, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The first preview gives some sense of its scale, its remarkable archival and contemporaneous footage recalling Levees more than a little bit.
Does Lee have something major right around the corner? The premiere is this Sunday, running through September 11. Suddenly our schedules look a bit more packed.
Find the trailer below: