Mo’ Better Blues
Director: Spike Lee Run Time: 127 min. Format: 35mm Rating: R Release Year: 1990
Starring: Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, Wesley Snipes, Joie Lee, Cynda Williams, Giancarlo Esposito
MO’ BETTER BLUES marks the first of four excellent collaborations between Spike Lee and Denzel Washington, and primarily takes us to Brooklyn Heights and the Lower East Side. Denzel stars as Bleek Gilliam, an incredibly talented trumpet player who continuously makes messy choices in his love life, and in his role as a leader of a jazz Quintet. As trouble continues to brew with money, women, and his bandmate Shadow (played by Wesley Snipes in his first Lee collaboration as well) Bleek’s life reaches a boiling point from which he may not be able to escape.
Giancarlo Espositio, Bill Nunn, Jeff Watts, John Turturro, and Robin Harris (who the film is dedicated to) add a fast-paced, bombastic energy to the film, while Spike’s sister Joie delivers one of her finest performances. Frequent Spike Lee collaborator Terence Blanchard and Jazz musician Branford Maraslis also bring an extra zest to the film playing for Denzel and Wesley respectively, who were trained to mimic their instrument playing for the film.
This screening will be preceded by a live Jazz quartet performance led by Miles Lennox.