In America’s hip-hop scene Chicago has long been dubbed ‘Chi-Raq’ – a name that refers to the infamous South Side’s reputation as murder capital of the USA. Between 2001 and 2015, 7,356 people died here as a result of gun violence – a ‘national emergency’ as director Spike Lee tells us in big red letters. However, Chi-Raq is no naturalistic drama of fate but a big, bold, witty, satirical version of Greek poet Aristophanes’ classical comedy ‘Lysistrata’, enriched by plenty of music. After street wars between the rival gangs of the Trojans and the Spartans once again lead to the deaths of children and adolescents, a group of women, led by the beautiful Lysistrata, decides to combat the spiralling violence with feminine guile and woman power. A sex strike is intended to force all the young black men, including Lysistrata’s rapper boyfriend Demetrius Dupree, to renounce their impulsive hatred. Before long, their appeal to break the cycle of revenge spreads far beyond Chicago’s borders ...
by Spike Lee
with Nick Cannon, Teyonah Parris, Wesley Snipes, Angela Bassett