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arts and culture | community building

Spike Lee's 'Chi-Raq': Lysistrata With Chicago Gang Violence Backdrop

Chi-Raq (2015)

Chi-Raq is an upcoming film directed by Spike Lee and written by Lee and Kevin Willmott. Set in Chicago, the film is described as a satire and to have as a subject gang violence prevalent in some neighborhoods on the city's south side, particularly, Englewood.

The film is based on Lysistrata, a classical Greek comedy by Aristophanes.

The film's title, a portmanteau of "Chicago" and "Iraq,", has caused some controversy. Members of the City council and city residents have requested that Lee change the name of the film, going as far as to threaten the tax credits that the film maker will receive from the city.
"Chi-Raq" is a common endonym of residents of Chicago's South Side, used to describe the area as a war zone due to its high crime rates. Lee later called Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel a "bully" and several Chicago aldermen "bootlickers" for their criticisms.