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[RECAP] ‘Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus’ At ABFF

Film was controversial and gory, but how was the experience?

Without spoiling the film, I will break down the few highlights throughout “Da Sweet Blood of Jesus”:

  • Within the first few minutes of the film, roughly 15-20 moviegoers got up out of their seats and left.
  • This is easily Spike Lee’s bloodiest film to date and trumps his previous film, “Oldboy,” in the gore department.
  • Stephen Tyrone Williams and Zaraah Abrahams are really strong actors who are able to give the audience a feeling through the most simplest means.
  • Felicia “Snoop” Pearson makes her return to the big screen in “Da Sweet Blood of Jesus,” which made the audience chuckle during a scene that wasn’t funny.
  • The film’s score was done by Bruce Hornsby, who worked with Spike Lee on “Clockers” and “Bamboozled”. 800 songs were submitted for entry and Spike whittled the list down to 12, which all appeared in the film and soundtrack.
  • A scene involving a prostitute, Stephen Tyrone Williams, and a baby doesn’t go as the moviegoers thought it would. The audience was heard murmuring their concerns during the scene’s most extreme moment.
  • The African artwork and artifacts were found and accumulated by Kay Lee (“Blue Caprice”), who was the film’s production designer.

When the lights were drawn up on Spike Lee’s 55th film, the reactions were mixed. Slight applause, but not overwhelmingly celebratory. There loomed a sense that the audience was a bit confused about what they just witnessed. With addiction and blood at the forefront of “Da Sweet Blood of Jesus,” the project showed Lee’s return to his hardcore independent roots; an electrically-charged performance by two newcomers; and a different take on a thriller.

But will that be enough to convince a distributor to pick this film up? We shall see.

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