More than two thousand years ago, according to a play by Greek playwright Aristophanes, a woman named Lysistrata persuaded all of the women of Greece to withhold sex from their husbands and lovers until the were able to sit down and negotiate peace.
A furious war was raging and Greek city states were fighting the Peloponnesian Wars— a conflict that lasted more than three decades between Athens and her allies and the Spartan empire. With support from Lampito, a Spartan woman, Lysistrata persuades the other women to withhold sex until there is a cessation of fighting.
Aristophanes, one of the most famous comedian writers of ancient Greece rote the play, which was performed at the time and has been iterated in theater, opera, music and the written word dozens of times and throughout the world.
Fast forward to Chicago, 2015, where gun violence and gang warfare has divided the city and hundreds of young African Americans continue to kill themselves in the city’s neighborhoods. Acclaimed film director Spike Lee has been inspired by Aristophanes’ ancient play, proving the timelessness of the two thousand year old literary masterpiece in today’s society.
Lee uses hi main character, a modern-day Chicago woman, to convince fellow Chicago women, to launch a sex strike to try and convince rival gangs to lay down their weapons.
Lee’s film is named Chi-raq, after street slang comparing the third largest city in the country, to conflict zones in the Middle East.