Tuesday, September 04, 2007

When the Levees Broke

From Wikipedia:

When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts is a 2006 documentary film directed by Spike Lee about the devastation of New Orleans, Louisiana due to the failure of the levees during Hurricane Katrina. The film runs for 4 hours, and premiered at the New Orleans Arena on August 16, 2006. The television premiere aired in two parts on August 21 and 22, 2006 on HBO. The film was shown in its entirety on August 29, 2006, the one-year anniversary of Katrina's landfall. It has been described by an HBO executive as "one of the most important films HBO has ever made."

The documentary was also screened at the 63rd Venice International Film Festival on August 31 and September 1, 2006. It won the Orizzonti Documentary Prize and one of two FIPRESCI awards. In addition it was shown at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival on September 15 and September 16, 2006. On July 19, 2007, it was nominated for five Emmys.

The title is a reference to the blues tune "When the Levee Breaks", by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie (later repopularized by Led Zeppelin) about the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927.

The film's original score is by Terence Blanchard, a New Orleans-born trumpeter who also appears in the film with his mother and grandmother as they return to their flooded home.

The documentary consists largely of news footage and still photos of Katrina and its aftermath interspersed with interviews. Interviewees throughout the film include politicians, journalists, historians, engineers, and many people from various parts of New Orleans and the surrounding areas who give first hand accounts of their experiences with the levee failures and the aftermath.

More here.

Okay, so I haven't seen this yet, mainly because I don't have HBO, but I plan on watching as much as I can tonight. I asked for it for Christmas, but my family's pretty right-wing which is probably why it didn't end up in my stocking. And yeah, I expect it to be very much to the left. After all, Spike Lee directed it, and he's never been one to shy away from political confrontation with the forces of racism or conservatism. I also expect it to be depressing.

I am sure, however, that it will be powerful and moving. You should watch it too:

From YouTube via VideoSift