THE OBENSON REPORT

Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

Did You Know #4 - Spike's Got A Kid Brother, And He Makes Films Too!

Did you know...

... That Spike Lee's younger brother, Cinque Lee, is also a filmmaker, and has written and directed 4 feature-length films since 1995, all independently financed, produced and distributed, with no real contributions from older brother Spike?

The first was a drama called Nowhere Fast, made for just $29,000 in 1995, and is described as "a film powerfully weaved together through stories of its desperate characters and depicting the dangerous hours they face during one fateful day. Lee cast nineteen actors as a motley assortment of disenfranchised, dispossessed and downright weird characters, including junkies, prostitutes, thieves, dealers, dopers, mental patients, street people, and a failed magician, all of whom collide wildly on the hot city streets on a Friday afternoon during a scorching heat-wave in Brooklyn." Do The Right Thing Part 2 possibly?

His second feature was a sci-fi film called Windows On Your Present, made for $50,000, and co-starred his sister, Joie Lee (who has also been featured in a few of Spike's earlier films). In the film, two characters, Europe and Leber, are lost souls in a world where love and color have never existed. They stumble upon a pill that transports them to a world of color and love for a short time. After the effects of the pill ware off, they are returned to their depressing world of no color. They decide to search for the source of the pills and consume enough of them to never return. This was made in 2000. Sounds intriguing... we rarely get to see black people in sci-fi flicks, especially the more seemingly cerebral kind.

The 3rd was another drama called Sink Like A Stone, made for a paltry $12,000, completed in 2001. A teenage girl wakes up in a trunk of a car and has no memory of how she got there or who she is. She stumbles around New York City in a daze, meeting all types of people willing to help her or do her harm. She eventually meets the person who left her for dead. This person holds the key to her identity and past but she has to die before she can regain all that she has lost. Also sounds quite intriguing.


And his last outing was a film called UR4 GIVEN, made in 2004, for just $12,000. In the film, a drama, Monica, a 27-year-old woman and a victim of child abuse, is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, splintered personality, flashbacks, repressed memories, and migraines. To help combat her demons she interviews victims of child abuse on camera. Monica eventually realizes that she has to confront those demons. She returns to her small hometown to revisit the place where her rapes took place, and while there, she runs into the man who raped her as a child, but he has no idea who she is. Instead of telling him who she is, she hatches a plan to exact revenge, one that could cost her life. Hmmmm... curious.

Of course, in each of these films, given their individual budgets, don't expect to find any recognizable actors - at least on the star scale anyway. I'd love to get my hands on all of these films out of sheer curiosity. They might actually be worthwhile and in need of support. Of the 4 films, I only found one of them available for sale anywhere - Nowhere Fast. You can find it on Amazon for less than $10. CLICK HERE. I've already placed my order. I'll keep looking for the others. They have to be out there somewhere.

It's rather unfortunate that Spike doesn't talk more about his brother's independent efforts, or help him push his films. Or maybe he does, and I'm just not aware. I'm not saying that he should actively lobby for his brother, but maybe give him a "shout out" every now and then... or even some "props,"... something... anything to let us know that his brother exists and is making art. Unless Spike just doesn't think his brother's films are any good, which is possible, I suppose.

8 comments:

  1. Deesha said...
     

    Did you know about Malcolm Lee?
    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0002700/

    I wonder why the Brothers Lee haven't collaborated.

    ~Deesha

  2. Deesha said...
     

    Ack! Malcolm is Spike and Cinque's cousin.

  3. UK Black Chick aka Wendy said...
     

    All sounds like really interesting fare. I'd certaily like to see them all, particularly 'UR4 Given', given that it has themes similar to a script I've written. Would love to see his treatment of these themes. Revenge seems to be where he's going, a route I assume most people think is the obvious one to go down but which I'm not altogether sold on... then again, I guess it makes for dramatic tension.

    I admire, and yet am curious, that he hasn't used his brother's reputation to garner interest in his own work. Or maybe he has, unsuccessfully...

    I wish him well, either way.

  4. UK Black Chick aka Wendy said...
     

    Um... is he Joie's twin? The one who was in Coffee and Cigarettes with her?

  5. The Obenson Report said...
     

    @ Deesha - yup, Malcolm is Spike's cuz.

    @ Wendy - yup, he was the one in Coffee & Cigarettes with Joie. Didn't like the film actually. Not Jim Jarmusch's best work... but I appreciate the attempt at novelty.

  6. UK Black Chick aka Wendy said...
     

    @ TOR

    I didn't like it much either. In fact, I didn't even finish watching it...

  7. theblackactor.com said...
     

    Hmmmm. Actually, some of his pics sound very intriguing. There must be something going on there. Historically, Spike Lee has been a yapper and very vocal about this or that; so it is surprising that there is little mention of Cinque, since Lee talks about erthing else.

    It'd be interesting to see what has been said about these pics.

  8. theblackactor.com said...
     

    I wonder why they can't be found.

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