When he began principal shooting in Chicago in summer 2015, Spike Lee assured audiences that Chi-Raq would engage the issue of violence on Chicago's South Side with intention and purpose. Chicagoans were skeptical because of Lee's use of the portmanteau phrase, which had been the subject of much debate in the city, as the film's title. Written almost entirely in verse, Chi-Raq is an adaptation of classical Greek playwright Aristophanes's comedy Lysistrata that marks an extension of Lee's use of satire. Despite Lee's promises, he flails outside of his native Brooklyn. The film primarily adopts a didactic and reductionist view, blaming black Chicagoans for their own “self-inflicted genocide” and encouraging them to put their trust in the notoriously corrupt Chicago Police Department.

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