With Amazon Studios’ first original movie, Chi-Raq, due to hit theaters in December, the first trailer was released Tuesday. The film, which features a star-studded cast, is directed by critically acclaimed filmmaker Spike Lee.
Chi-Raq is a modern adaptation of the Greek comedy Lysistrata by Aristophanes, and it also satirizes the city of Chicago’s rampant gun violence. In fact, the movie’s title is a nickname often used by Southside residents, blending the name of their city with that of Iraq to comment on the level of danger. After flashing “This is an emergency” multiple times at the beginning of the trailer, a voiceover tells us that “homicides in Chicago, Illinois, have surpassed the death toll of American special forces in Iraq.” The preview gets more lighthearted from there, but the message is clear throughout.
In the film, Lysistrata (played by Teyonah Paris) encourages a group of women to withhold sex to get the men in their lives to put down their guns. The idea catches on too, as shown in the trailer — so much so that even the poles in strip clubs are empty. “I will deny rights of access and entrance,” the women chant together in a show of solidarity.
In addition to Paris, the cast includes the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Hudson, Wesley Snipes, John Cusack, D.B. Sweeney, Angela Bassett, and more. It’s an impressive list, especially on top of the fact that Lee is behind the camera. The award-winning director also co-wrote the film with Kevin Willmott.
Chi-Raq is set to hit theaters for a limited release on Dec. 4, thanks to a partnership between Amazon, Roadside Attractions, and Lionsgate. The movie will later be released on Amazon Instant Video, making it free for Prime members.