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Spike Lee's Controversial 'Chi-raq' Is Premiering In Chicago Sunday

By Rachel Cromidas in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 19, 2015 6:50PM


It's almost here—Chi-raq, the controversial film by director Spike Lee that whirled through Chicago earlier this year, is premiering next week and opening soon after.

Lee's new film, set in Chicago, is premiering at the Chicago Theatre in the Loop this Sunday with stars Jennifer Hudson, John Cusack, Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes and more expected to attend.

The invite-only premiere will be the debut for the first feature from Amazon Studios, according to the Tribune. The movie, opening in theaters Dec. 4, has been described as a musical remake of the ancient Greek play Lysistrata, in which Greek women refuse to have sex with their husbands in hopes that their strike will end a war between two city-states.

The film's premise and title have caught flack in local and national media since they were first publicized last spring, and Lee has had to answer to critics including aldermen and the mayor who worry that it will trivialize or misrepresent Chicago's gang violence problem.

In a trailer for the movie released earlier this month, a voice over raps a kind of response to those criticisms: "That's how it is in Chi-raq. Y'all mad 'cause I don't call it Chicago. I don't live in no Chicago."

The cast is expected to attend a Sunday morning mass led by anti-violence activist Rev. Michael Pfleger at St. Sabina Church on the South Side. Cusack's character is said to be based on Pfleger, who also consulted on the film, according to the Tribune. Pfleger told the Tribune his mass will "talk on the sin of neglect" Sunday. Pfleger also said he is attending the movie premiere in the evening and bringing about 150 members of his church, some of whom were extras in the film.