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Messages in Spike Lee's 'Jungle Fever'

June 22, 1991

As a screenwriter who has had to tackle issues of racism and classism and someone who is one-half of an interracial relationship, I feel betrayed by Spike Lee's "Jungle Fever" ("Lee's Fury in Control in 'Fever,' " reviewed by Kenneth Turan, June 7).

Lee has shrouded and distorted the issue of interracial romance by making the affair between Flipper (Wesley Snipes) and Angie (Anabella Sciorra) an extramarital one and adds insult to injury by predicating their relationship on sexual "curiosity." Add to the mix a defrocked minster, crack addiction and other social manifestoes, and you are left with a film that collapses under its own disconnected agendas.

Lee says his films are intended to foster discussion of important issues. Why then does the central issue seem to invariably become the filmmaker himself?

I'm reminded of the adage: "Trust the art, not the artist." After viewing "Jungle Fever," I find myself trusting neither.

MICHAEL LAZAROU

Los Angeles

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