Mississippi Masala, Do the Right

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

Pino is the exact opposite of his brother Vito. One of the main issues in the film involves the pictures on the wall of the pizzeria and the lack of African-Americans represented.

Throughout the film there are examples of current racial trends in America. From the death of Raheem, to the riots in the streets over racial tension, and though the film was made in the early 1990s, it's unfortunate that the film is still marginally representative of situations and beliefs today. Both Sal and Radio Raheem became victims because of their skin-color.

Besides Sal's pizzeria, there is a Korean grocery store that is also boycotted by the neighborhood. There is an element of Orientalism, as the Koreans are portrayed as penny-pinchers and mean to the children of the neighborhood. I believe this to be another example of stereotyping in films.

Spike Lee appeared in his own film, and has done so in his subsequent films, including "Son of Sam" and is a director that has always been interested in showcasing stories on a backdrop of social history.

Do the Right Thing" came on the scene two years before the L.A. riots and the Rodney King beating, and was a voice for a community that was otherwise struggling to fulfill their own 'American Dreams' as they suffered through racial discrimination. Many would say that the film still relates to racial discrimination in America.

All three of these films draw from social and historical backgrounds that allow their stories to be showcased in realism. Cinematography doesn't involve special effects or over-the-top productions, but lets the characters speak to the audiences. We are then able to relate to the different plights and sympathize with characters like Tony Montana, Mookie and Mina, who are all trying to survive in a world that is otherwise ready to discriminate against them because of their ethnogenesis.

All three films also use class as a common element. Tony Montana, Mookie and Mina are all impoverished, poor or struggling to survive. Though gender doesn't play a huge part in their means of surviving, class definitely does, especially in "Scarface" and "Do the Right Thing."

Tony is driven by a strong desire to attain all the things his boss has, including his wife, while Mookie flashes his money around his friends. Both have the means to get out of the ghetto and the poor environments they are in, but fail to organize themselves, either because community is an integral part of their social values, or in Tony's case, because the Underworld plays a heavy part in achieving his goals.

America is a diverse country and through film we are often fortunate to be given glimpses of cultures and traditions we may otherwise not be able to experience first-hand. Film is also the medium we can experience our own social inadequacies as a society and witness the ethnic and racial tension the 'American Dream' gives rise to.

Bibliography

Do the Right Thing Dir. Spike Lee. Written by Spike Lee.

Perfs. Danny Aiello, Spike Lee, John Turturro. Film. 1989.

Mississippi Masala Dir. Mira Nair. Written by Sooni Taraporewala.

Perfs. Denzel Washington, Sarita Chodhury, Roshan Seth. Film. 1991

Scarface Dir. Brian De Palma. Written by Oliver Stone, Armitage Trail.

Perfs. Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, Steven…