My Chiraq Review by P.F. Dash
With all of the rhetoric and talk about Spike's latest film, I knew I had to see it. I thought this is what art is about, it forces us to have an opinion, to engage in dialogue, and ultimately to think. I had heard the opinions of a few who thought the plot was a bit sexist, based on what appeared to be the premise that women could stop the violence in Chicago simply by choosing not to have Sex with their male counterparts. I believe this idea, what seemed to be the foundation of the film led others to believe Spike was saying somehow that women are responsible for the violence in Chicago and have to bear the burden of fixing it.
However just a few minutes into Spike's film you realize this isn't the case at all. The movie #Chiraq is really about how oppressive the western male psychology and the patriarchal environment we live in is to women and to us. It's about how we as men of any color cause our women to suffer, the pain we put them through, and how we make death a burden to carry for those bearers of life. The movie is about a group of women who chose to suffer no more, and the men who don't respect them because they don't respect themselves, because they don't respect life.
In order to teach the men to respect life the women come together and form a secret society taking an oath sealed by a sip of red wine, the oath is one where the women do not reduce themselves to their genitalia as a means to stop violence but one where they reduce the minds of men to the least common denominator. What do the men want more than anything? They discover their men lack respect for life because the nature of divinity is removed from that which gives life.
The female anatomy is the closest thing to God in the subconscious mind of man, the sistahs took God from their men. Just as in the bible towards the latter part of the story of Jesus, when Jesus was on the cross on Golgotha and yells, "my god my god, why have you forsaken me!" God could not be with Jesus while in sin, so woman could not be with man in the midst of his greatest sin the lack of respect for life, allegorically speaking. In order for man to regain access to God he has to change his way, it is through the action of being cut off from the abundance of god that man learns to respect the ways of and the wholeness of god. He mustn't only learn to put down the guns in this film, the women make it very clear if you want to get back in good graces, you must respect the women's body, her mind, her ability to give life and her choice.
There are other brilliant subtleties expressed by the master of film in Chiraq that I don't want to give away. But he tackles the political and economic systems that have created chiraq, he tackles the issue of gun laws, he even hints at the notion of how blacks are more prone to listen to concealed truths if revealed by a white face. Thank you John Cusack & Black Jesus.
The choice of cast as well as the delivery of the subject matter does highlight Spike is a little out of touch with the millennial generation, however it lends it's self to the films message because it feels like a conversation with an elder desperately trying to relate, not for cool points but to let you know although we aren't completely the same we are of one another and I still have some great truths and wisdom to impart on you. "Yes, you must find your way, but please listen to what I have to say."
In totality it's a good film with a great message, an adaptation of an ancient Greek comedy. The acting isn't always the best throughout, some scenes seem a little over the top however the style is authentically Spike's. It's one we've grown to love if you love Spike's films like I do. Go see #Chiraq