There is one great danger to watching Do The Right Thing 20 years after its release – you might get sucked into romantic nostalgia. So much so that you cast a negligent eye on the movie’s central conflicts, rendering them in your mind as inconsequential, casual, even somewhat cute. That’s what I did to an extent, which is why the violent, oppressing end of the film caught me by surprise, when I should have seen it coming. It’s all very cool to enjoy Spike Lee’s powerful first steps as a filmmaker (as well as his substantial acting role), and the old-school NYC feel, to savour the freshness and truthfulness of every next scene, but above all this stands a movie about a deep, deep problem that still permeates every single society on this weird, sad planet – racism. OK, I live in the Obama era (or, at the very least in its hopeful early days), so it’s a bit diffucult to imagine this happening on a New York street today. But hey, it still happens in Paris. I’ve enjoyed every Spike Lee joint I’ve seen, but this one must definitely be the spiciest, most flavoursome, character-full to the brim. The great thing is that almost all the amusing Brooklynites Lee has created are given plenty of their own space and time to stake a point or throw a fit, but they don’t overcrowd each other, don’t oversaturate the senses. They are natural people of a society, coming together or facing off with each other on a day when the termometers in the Big Apple mark new heat records. In a very American city there are only non-American ethnicities clashing – Italians, African-Americans, Puerto-Ricans, Koreans. They form a network that looks like it’s working, not perfectly, but OK. Sal (Danny Aiello, such a charismatic actor) owns a pizzeria in a predominantly black neighbourhood which he runs with the help of his sons Pino and Vito (John Turturro and Richard Edson). A Korean family runs the grocery store across the street, seemingly selling on credit to every soul in the hood. There is only one African-American who seems to have a job (Spike Lee himself, as delivery boy Mookie); probably the one guy who you’d expect to bridge communities, but actually one of the first to actively precipitate the meltdown. The final half hour of the movie is a great metaphor about how any at first sight negligible, unimportant little problem a society contains in itself, is a tiny timebomb, one sure to start rolling a tiny snowball, which is bound to gather in size, then hit and destroy a very important part of our delusionally stable lives. Do The RIght Thing does not give answers, because nobody has them yet…But it does what a great film of its kind always does – keeps minds awake, reminds and stirs, pokes you in the heart and stomach, asking: so what now, what’re you doing about this shit, man, that shit that you live in, pretending not to see it?