Friday, June 08, 2007

Malcolm X

I watched the film again yesterday after about 15 years. Firstly I can't believe it has been that long, secondly, while the first time I just watched it, this time I actually listened to what was being said. Spike Lee had created a masterpiece and Denzel Washington was simply amazing as the man. I was most impressed that he even learned the Fatiha (opening passage of the Koran) by heart and recited it in the film.

The life journey of Malcolm X and his transition was delivered incredibly, but what was amazing were his devastating criticisms of American society then. An opening sequence showing the beating of Rodney King which sparked the Los Angeles race riots showed how those criticisms are as valid today as they were when Malcolm was still alive. Lastly, it is interesting to watch a film made before 2001 which does not stereotype Muslims around the world. Though this only appeared much later in the film, Spike Lee managed to convey the universalism of Islamic belief which Malcolm X came to embrace, rather than the closed, rather racist views of the Nation of Islam led by a man called Elijah Muhammad. This approach was both refreshing to watch and inspirational. An amazing film about an amazing man, read more about him here.


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