Bamboozled

  • Directed by Spike Lee
  • United States, 2000, 135 mins., English

Routinely overshadowed by Lee’s better-known films (Do the Right Thing, She’s Gotta Have It, Malcolm X, et al.), Bamboozled is perhaps his angriest, most overtly scintillating work. Harvard-educated Pierre Delacroix (Damon Wayans), a Black producer working for a large broadcast television network, struggles to come up with the season’s hot new idea—and, after some help from his assistant Sloane Hopkins (Jada Pinkett), stumbles into producing a minstrel show starring street performers Manray (Savion Glover) and Womack (Tommy Davidson) as black performers wearing Blackface and acting in full caricature. The show proves a surprise mainstream hit, to the delight of Delacroix’s racist and money-grubbing boss, but as the accolades roll in, success begins to get the better of Delacroix and Manray, with violent and troubling consequence. Employing a raw, energetic style utilizing grainy digital video in a presciently proto-viral move, this “Under-appreciated and under-seen… major studio work fearlessly explores the corrosive, lasting effects of the racial stereotypes forged in Hollywood’s early days and beyond.”—Ashley Clark, Facing Blackness.

Genres: Satire

Other Films by Spike Lee

Crooklyn

Spike Lee’s sentimental remembrance of growing up in 1970s Brooklyn centers on a young girl named Troy (Zelda Harris) as she struggles to have a voice in her large, loud, and sometimes embarrassing family. Modulating between sequences of magical realism (such as when Troy visits her relatives in North Carolina) and ones dealing with routine

She’s Gotta Have It

Four years before his Oscar-nominated Do the Right Thing, Spike Lee burst onto the filmmaking scene with his frenetic and provocative debut She’s Gotta Have It. Demonstrating exactly what 80s indie cinema could be, Lee and his cinematographer Ernest R. Dickerson employed a visual flair equally inspired by Woody Allen and the French New Wave,