Spike LeeOne of the best-known documentaries about the effects of Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures in New Orleans is from Spike Lee. His four-hour film When the Levees Broke aired on HBO in 2006 and won several Emmys as well as awards at the Venice Film Festival. Now, more than four years after Katrina, Lee is returning to The Big Easy to shoot a follow-up film for HBO. The filmmaker is scheduled to start shooting this week in New Orleans, but also plans to spend time along the Gulf Coast, an area some critics felt he neglected in his original film.

Interestingly enough, Lee's 40 Acres and a Mule production company is not the only one shooting Katrina-related material for HBO in New Orleans right now. David Simon, who produced the TV show The Wire, is finishing 10 episodes of a New Orleans-set show called Treme, focusing on characters who are musicians. The show is set to premiere on April 11. No date or title has yet been announced for Lee's documentary.

I own When the Levees Broke on DVD, and I ran through nearly a half-box of tissues watching it. It's an excellent documentary. This is the part where I should tell you that I'm looking forward to Lee's sequel. But to be honest, I can't watch any more documentaries about post-flood New Orleans. The last one I saw was Mine, and while the story about the fate of evacuees' pets was well told, it was more than I could stand. Having grown up in the New Orleans area, I take it all too personally and emotionally. If you haven't watched any of these movies yourself, When the Levees Broke and Trouble the Water are excellent starting points, and I can name at least a half-dozen other good films, but I've hit my limit. However, I"m pleased to see filmmakers raising awareness of the continuing situation in New Orleans and on the Gulf Coast, which is in no way "back to normal."
CATEGORIES Movies, Cinematical