She’s Gotta Have It (1986) – Analysis

When focusing on the subject on ancillary markets, Spike Lee’s ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ has an interesting position in today’s technological landscape. The movie was released and gained popularity in the 1980’s, where laser-discs and VHS were booming in popularity. I believe this definitely impacted the cult-like status of the film, as well as changed the audiences who were able to view it. After all, it is much easier to rent/own a copy of a movie than it is to see it in theaters. The movie/show has also gone on to become a Netflix original, a new pathway for the ancillary market. This makes the movie, or essentially the plot of the movie, transcendental in these ancillary markets.

As one of the major black-voices in independent (and now commercial) American cinema, Spike Lee’s 1986 film delivers an artistic albeit commercial message to a wide audience. Though I did not grow up or experience periods of under representation in cinema, I can still see how a movie such as this one could have had such a big voice for the time period. Although the premise of the film is ‘low-concept’, I think that the humanizing nature of Lee’s takes on sexuality and the black community are still palatable and refreshing today. In fact, I can’t think of many modern films that tackle polyamory without placing it in a negative light. 

The smooth and frank Nature of Lee’s portrayal of sexuality and the female experience is still applicable today, especially with slut-shaming and cyberbullying being in the news almost constantly. That, in conjunction with it’s artistic style and almost amatueresque feel (which is actually still quite incredible considering Lee’s family has not much experience) makes the film one that I can definitely see myself coming back to. From the shots of candles to symbolize her ritualistic sex, or the references to films of the past (Wizard of Oz) I can definitely understand why this was viewed in class as well as why it has made such an impact on cinema of its future.

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