Spike Lee

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colinr0380
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Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Spike Lee

#1 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Sep 14, 2008 5:40 pm

Spike Lee (1957-)

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"It comes down to this: black people were stripped of our identities when we were brought here, and it's been a quest since then to define who we are."

Filmography

Features (*=Documentary)
Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads (1983)
She's Gotta Have It (1986)
School Daze (1988)
Do The Right Thing (1989)
Mo' Better Blues (1990)
Jungle Fever (1991)
Malcolm X (1992)
Crooklyn (1994)
Clockers (1995)
Girl 6 (1996)
Get On The Bus (1996)
4 Little Girls* (1997)
He Got Game (1998)
Summer Of Sam (1999)
The Original Kings of Comedy* (2000)
Bamboozled (2000)
25th Hour (2002)
She Hate Me (2004)
Inside Man (2006)
When The Levees Broke: A Requiem In Four Acts* (2006)
Miracle At St. Anna (2008)
If God is Willing and da Creek Don't Rise* (2010)
Red Hook Summer (2012)
Michael Jackson: Bad 25* (2012)
Oldboy (2013)
Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2014)
Chi-Raq (2015)
Michael Jackson's Journey from Motown to Off the Wall* (2016)
Pass Over [w/ Danya Taymor] (2018)
BlacKkKlansman (2018)

Television/Shorts (*=Documentary)
"Last Hustle In Brooklyn"* (1977)
"The Answer" (1980)
"Sarah" (1981)
Spike Lee & Company: Do It a Cappella* (1990)
"Untitled" [segment, Lumière et compagnie] (1995)
Freak (1998)
Pavarotti and Friends for Guatemala and Kosovo* (1999)
A Huey P. Newton Story (2001)
"Come Rain or Come Shine" (2001)
Jim Brown: All-American (2002)
"We Wuz Robbed" [segment, Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet] (2002)
Sucker Free City (2004)
"Jesus Children of America" [segment, All the Invisible Children] (2005)
Miracle's Boys - S01E01 - "New Charlie" (2005)
Miracle's Boys - S01E06 - "Bond of Brothers" (2005)
Shark - S01E01 - "Pilot" (2006)
M.O.N.Y. (2007)
Passing Strange (2009)
Kobe Doin' Work (2009)
Da Brick (2011) [Unaired Pilot]
Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth (2013)
Katt Williams: Priceless: Afterlife (2014)
Jerrod Carmichael: Love at the Store (2014)
2 Fists Up* (2016)
Rodney King (2017)
"Brave: Visions for Moncler" (2017)
She's Gotta Have It - S01E01 - "#DaJumpoff (DOCTRINE)" (2017)
She's Gotta Have It - S01E02 - "#BootyFull (SELF ACCEPTANCE)" (2017)
She's Gotta Have It - S01E03 - "#LBD (LITTLE BLACK DRESS)" (2017)
She's Gotta Have It - S01E04 - "#LuvIzLuv (SEXUALITY IS FLUID)" (2017)
She's Gotta Have It - S01E05 - "#4MyNegusAndMyBishes (ALL WORDS MATTER)" (2017)
She's Gotta Have It - S01E06 - "#HeGotItAllMixedUp (DYSLEXIA)" (2017)
She's Gotta Have It - S01E07 - "#HowToMakeLoveToANegroWithoutGettingTired" (2017)
She's Gotta Have It - S01E08 - "#LoveDontPayDaRent (IF YOU DON’T KNOW ME BY NOW)" (2017)
She's Gotta Have It - S01E09 - "#ChangeGonCome (GENTRIFICATION)" (2017)
She's Gotta Have It - S01E10 - "#NolasChoice (3 DA HARD WAY)" (2017)

Books
Spike Lee's Gotta Have It: Inside Guerrilla Filmmaking by Spike Lee (1987)
Uplift the Race: the Construction of School Daze by Spike Lee (1988)
Five for Five: The Films of Spike Lee by Terry McMillan et. al, Introduction by Spike Lee (1991)
Spike Lee by Alex Patterson (1992)
By Any Means Necessary: Trials and Tribulations of the Making of Malcolm X by Spike Lee and Ralph Wiley (1992)
Spike Lee and the African American Filmmakers: A Choice of Colors by K. Maurice Jones (1996)
Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing by Mark A. Reid, ed. (1997)
Spike Lee: By Any Means Necessary by Jim Haskins (1997)
Spike Lee: Interviews by Cynthia Fuchs, ed. (2002)
A Rhetoric of Symbolic Identity: An Analysis of Spike Lee's X and Bamboozled by Gerald A. Powell, Jr. (2004)
Spike Lee: That's My Story and I'm Sticking To It by Spike Lee and Kaleem Aftab (2005)
The Spike Lee Reader by Paula J. Massood, ed. (2007)
Fight the Power!: The Spike Lee Reader by Janice D. Hamlet and Robin R. Means Coleman, eds., Foreword by Spike Lee (2007)
The Philosophy of Spike Lee by Mark T. Conard, ed. (2011)
Spike Lee's America by David Sterritt (2013)
Spike Lee: Finding the Story and Forcing the Issue by Jason P. Vest (2014)
Spike Lee by Todd McGowan (2014)

Forum Resources
She's Gotta Have It (Spike Lee, 1986)
She Hate Me and School Daze DVDs
97 Do the Right Thing
25th Hour (Spike Lee, 2002)
Inside Man (Spike Lee, 2006)
When The Levees Broke (Spike Lee, 2006)
Miracle at St. Anna (Spike Lee, 2008)
Passing Strange (Spike Lee, 2009)
Red Hook Summer (Spike Lee, 2012)
Oldboy (Spike Lee, 2013)
BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, 2018)
Clint Eastwood vs. Spike Lee

Web Resources
Roger Ebert's original review of Do the Right Thing, Chicago Sun-Times (1989)
1991 interview with Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
1996 talk by Lee at Imagination Conference in San Francisco, In Motion Magazine
"The Invisible Man", by Kent Jones, Film Comment (1997)
2001 interview with Chris Gore, FilmThreat
Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" Entry for Do the Right Thing (2001)
PBS website for A Huey P. Newton Story
Lee's 2003 Ubben Lecture at DePauw University
2006 interview on Malcolm X, DVDTalk
2009 interview with Tim Morrison, TIME
2014 interview with Gavin Edwards, Rolling Stone
2015 interview with Sam Fragoso, The Atlantic
"Spike Lee's 95 Films Every Aspiring Director Should See"
2017 interview with Chris O'Falt, Indiewire
"Start Spreading the News: Summer of Sam and the '70s White Working Class" by Jackson Arn, Senses of Cinema (2017)
2018 Film Comment podcast with Nicolas Rapold, Teo Bugbee, and Ashley Clark
Last edited by colinr0380 on Sun Feb 21, 2016 7:02 pm, edited 8 times in total.

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ando
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Spike Lee Films

#2 Post by ando » Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:53 pm

Despite the fact that Lee is not on my list of favorite directors he does occupy a vital place in my consciousness of film in general; in particular, though - and most especially - in the manner in which the African American community is portrayed. You can certainly trace the influence of directors he admires - many of his films contain sequences which are obvious homages to notable directors of the past - but there is a distinct Spike Lee visual style that, although at times conspicuous and deliberately "attention-grabbing", is difficult to ignore and certainly hard to forget.

Most conspicuous for me are the "on the street" scenes involving dialogue among ordinary folks which are not a part of the main narrative but which are absolutely necessary in terms of Spike Lee's overall gestalt. It's a device which informs Lee's overall perspective. And I don't think anyone can argue that the man has no perspective (whether it's personal as in She's Gotta Have It or communal as in When The Levees Broke or a combination as in Do The Right Thing). These seemingly off the cuff remarks from people within the community which surrounds much of the action in his narratives MUST be said, whether their remarks are seemingly innocuous or curiously poignant. I'm thinking for instance of the street conversations between Mos Def and 'the girl' in Bamboozled, or the conversation between two Black men standing on line to hear Malcolm X speak in X or the three older men sitting under the sun on a hot day in Bed Stuy in Do The Right Thing, seemingly gossiping about whatever enters their heads (or whomever walks by).

You certainly won't find anything like this in a Robert Bresson film. But you might see it in Hitchcock. Neurotics tend to be highly aware of social atmosphere and Hitch was especially sensitive to this and displayed it in all his films. Why Hitchcock here? Well, I think Hitch was at heart a social critic, though far less obvious than Lee. And I think Lee's visual storytelling is strongest when he is less of a polemicist and more a visual artist, though his politics are indispensible to his craft. On the other hand, when he completely abandons an overt political stance, like in Inside Man for example, I find his approach routine and not entirely compelling.

CA Rodgers
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Spike LEE

#3 Post by CA Rodgers » Wed Oct 22, 2008 1:21 am

I saw Spike Lee give a lecture at UTA College, as I am a big fan of most of the movies I've seen... mostly his earlier stuff- Do the Right Thing, Mo Better Blues, to name a few. I thought of how cool it would be to see him talk, and hear all the things he had to say about movies.
He didn't really talk about his movies or anything that had to do with movies. He talked about sports! It was kind of boring, he was kind of an asshole to the people asking the questions. All in all, kind of made me sad.

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Highway 61
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#4 Post by Highway 61 » Wed Oct 22, 2008 7:09 pm

Yeah, all these year I admired Spike Lee and even defended his weaker movies because I believed he was a filmmaker with conviction. It saddens me that the truth is that he's just douche.

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moviscop
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#5 Post by moviscop » Wed Oct 22, 2008 9:35 pm

I feel like anyone who tries to push an agenda as much as Spike Lee injures their image in the process.

An example in the same vein is Jesse Jackson or Rev. Al Sharpton.

It is sad because he has a "real" message that he is beating senselessly and causing people to view his films with a very sour taste in their mouth.

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Re: Spike Lee

#6 Post by Antoine Doinel » Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:48 pm

You can watch Lee's segment from Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet, We Wuz Robbed, right here.

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ando
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Re: Spike Lee

#7 Post by ando » Wed Nov 05, 2008 4:14 pm

Interesting. I don't think I'd like to hang out with Spike Lee, either. But you certainly can't deny that he is essentially a filmmaker at heart. I recently saw an interview featuring the late filmmaker, Sergi Parajanov, where he stated that filmmakers are born and not made. He certainly isn't the first to say it but I think that people who do alot of film watching (or directing) can recognize a natural when they see one. I hope Spike can get back to the sheer love of the craft.

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carax09
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Re: Spike Lee

#8 Post by carax09 » Mon Nov 10, 2008 8:24 pm

I think you're absolutely right that Spike is a filmmaking natural, and he's released one masterpiece a decade, since he started making movies, to prove it. It saddened me to see that someone in the Inglorious Bastards thread made the assertion that Tarantino is the "superior" filmmaker. I'm not even sure what that means, but I can tell you that it's fightin words where I came from, and demonstrably false by any metric outside of average box office receipt.

I've always kind of envisioned him as the type of director who will get much greater acclaim when he's no longer with us, but perhaps that will change now that we have a President and First Lady whose first date was to see a Spike Lee movie!

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domino harvey
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Re: Spike Lee

#9 Post by domino harvey » Mon Nov 10, 2008 8:57 pm

carax09 wrote:I think you're absolutely right that Spike is a filmmaking natural, and he's released one masterpiece a decade, since he started making movies, to prove it. It saddened me to see that someone in the Inglorious Bastards thread made the assertion that Tarantino is the "superior" filmmaker. I'm not even sure what that means, but I can tell you that it's fightin words where I came from, and demonstrably false by any metric outside of average box office receipt.
While I agree that Do the Right Thing is a masterpiece, I have no idea what other films you're talking about with your One Masterpiece Per Decade declaration. I think comparing Lee and Tarantino is silly, but saying your personal preference is something that can be more correct than someone else's preference doesn't do your argument any favors.

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ando
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Re: Spike Lee

#10 Post by ando » Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:39 pm

Hmmm. Think I'll leave that comparison alone. But I would like to point out how Lee gives visual nods to older, classic filmmakers. One of the most obvious examples is one I noticed at the opening of X. It's an exiting visual sequence composed of three main parts. The screen is black and we hear the voiceover of a man ending a Muslim prayer, then announcing Malcolm X to an audience. Suddenly, cymbols crash and Lee thrusts a huge American flag in our faces across the entire length and width of the screen.

This first image, though subverted by Lee with the soundtrack ("I charge the white man with being the greatest murderer on earth..."), is right out Franklin J. Schaffner's Patton.

Now, instead of watching a strapping, seasoned American general in chaps stride across the stage, the flag image is suddenly interrupted by the well known real life images of Rodney King being beaten by cops in an L.A. street. Suddenly we return to a slowly burning flag. More beating. More burning. Washington's narration gets more and more intense. More beating. And more burning until the formation of a letter X is outlined with the final voiceover by Denzel Washington exclaiming: "We don't see any American Dream. We've experienced only the American Nightmare!"
Black.

Finally, "BOSTON" in white lettering against a black background. Boogie-Woogie piano music starts. A Coke billboard sitting just behind a subway track fades in - and only when the picture has come in completely do we see the subtitle under "BOSTON", "The War Years". We immediately move from the subway tracks, across the station, pass Woolworths, down the street to a shoeshine stand. Spike Lee in a zoot suit, wide rimmed hat (with feather), checks his shine, flips a tip, gets up and with his Cab Calloway lean heads directly into The Barbershop.

All of this, IN ONE TAKE, is right out of the opening of Orson Welles' Touch Of Evil, which, though much longer and undoubtedly more complex in composition (as Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh cross the Border guards) is given a very obvious nod.

This is really one of the more impressive openings that I've seen. Though I've seldom read or heard the opening or the homage to either Schaffner or Welles discussed. The sequence - as well as the film, in general - is very well edited and one of the salient aspects of Lee's craft. Perhaps it's because Lee is instinctively a comic that he places a particular emphasis on editing - timing being crucial to comedy and, more importantly, the emotional impact of his films. (Yet it's one of the things I loathed about Inside Man. There I think editing was used to hype up rather lukewarm content.) Unfotunately, the rest of the X is fairly straightforward, visually, following Malcolm X's autobiography faithfully, but not (frankly) inventively. It certainly doesn't repeat the visual thrill of the opening and occasionally laspes into high melodrama.

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exte
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Re: Spike Lee

#11 Post by exte » Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:23 pm

MOST $100M+ HITS IN A CAREER
-including animated films & excluding cameos -
1. Tom Hanks – 15
2. Tom Cruise - 14
3. Eddie Murphy - 13
4. Will Smith – 12
4. Harrison Ford – 12
6. Jim Carrey – 11
6. Robin Williams - 11
8. Mel Gibson – 10
9. Matt Damon - 9
10. Bruce Willis – 8
10. Jack Nicholson – 8

Isn't it interesting that Will Smith has never worked with Spike Lee? Ever? You would think they would hope to work together once, no? I don't know what the relationship is between Murphy and Lee, but I know he's criticized Eddie, so that's probably out... Anyway, with Smith's new film Seven Pounds getting a terrible critical reception, you'd think he'd seek Lee out.

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Highway 61
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Re: Spike Lee

#12 Post by Highway 61 » Sat Dec 20, 2008 4:52 am

I doubt it since Smith passed on Lee to direct Ali, and then Lee shit all over him and Michael Mann in the press. Of course, Lee worked with Denzel Washington after he was similarly pissy over Jewison's The Hurricane, despite the fact that Jewison had previously willingly handed over Malcolm X to Lee. Anything's possible I suppose.

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Re: Spike Lee

#13 Post by companyofquail » Sat Dec 20, 2008 6:21 am

will smith was actually sopposed to be in bamboozled, but due to scheduling conflicts with another movie was not able to do it. they may work together in the future.... also on another smith/lee note... spike was really wanting to direct Ali and was almost able to direct, but it was taken away from him before production started because of fear that he would make it "too controversial"

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Re: Spike Lee

#14 Post by Antoine Doinel » Sun Dec 21, 2008 11:24 pm

exte wrote:Anyway, with Smith's new film Seven Pounds getting a terrible critical reception, you'd think he'd seek Lee out.
Uh, why? Aside from Inside Man, mainstream America has little to no regard for anything Spike Lee does. Will Smith's modus operandi has been either to (a) become a popular moneymaker, in films with a broad appeal or (b) garner critical acclaim from emotionally manipulative, easily digestible claptrap like Seven Pounds. Also, given Smith's recent relationship Cruise and Scientology, I would doubt Lee wants anything to do with him.

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Re: Spike Lee

#15 Post by King Prendergast » Sat Jan 24, 2009 8:26 pm

He Got Game is one of Lee's more underrated efforts. After Hoosiers, probably the greatest fictional film ever made about b-ball. It desperately needs an anamorphic transfer.

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Re: Spike Lee

#16 Post by knives » Sun Jan 25, 2009 5:40 pm

I never really liked He Got Game, felt like Lee was almost Parodying himself, but he has managed three classics. That along with the guilty pleasure that is Summer of Sam I like Lee well enough of a filmmaker.
P.S. In case your curious what I think those three they're Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, and The 25th Hour.

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Re: Spike Lee

#18 Post by Cinetwist » Mon Feb 16, 2009 4:41 am

CallingPlanetEarth wrote:
knives wrote:That along with the guilty pleasure that is Summer of Sam I like Lee well enough of a filmmaker.
Nothing to feel guilty about man, it's a solid film.
Apart from the dog barking scenes making the killer go all psycho and Adrien Brody's version of a punk, it really is a solid film.

Has anyone seen 4 Little Girls and is it any good? It's one of only a couple of Lee films that I haven't seen, but I'd have to import a copy to get to see it. From what I've seen, he's a very good documentary maker, so I'm hopeful.

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Re: Spike Lee

#19 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Mon Feb 16, 2009 9:52 pm

Antoine Doinel wrote:
exte wrote:Anyway, with Smith's new film Seven Pounds getting a terrible critical reception, you'd think he'd seek Lee out.
Uh, why? Aside from Inside Man, mainstream America has little to no regard for anything Spike Lee does. Will Smith's modus operandi has been either to (a) become a popular moneymaker, in films with a broad appeal or (b) garner critical acclaim from emotionally manipulative, easily digestible claptrap like Seven Pounds. Also, given Smith's recent relationship Cruise and Scientology, I would doubt Lee wants anything to do with him.
Isn't there something in the works that Tom is attached to that Spike will direct?

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Re: Spike Lee

#20 Post by Antoine Doinel » Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:38 pm

flyonthewall2983 wrote:Isn't there something in the works that Tom is attached to that Spike will direct?
I don't think so. The only chatter around Tom these days is a Cronenberg film with Denzel Washington in the other lead role, and a Hardy Boys film opposite Ben Stiller.

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Antoine Doinel
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Re: Spike Lee

#21 Post by Antoine Doinel » Wed Mar 18, 2009 6:34 pm

Spike Lee's next is a day-in-the-life documentary on Kobe Bryant, called Kobe Doin' Work. It will debut at the Tribeca Film Festival before running on ESPN.

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Re: Spike Lee

#22 Post by MTRodaba2468 » Sun Apr 19, 2009 2:45 am

domino harvey wrote:
carax09 wrote:I think you're absolutely right that Spike is a filmmaking natural, and he's released one masterpiece a decade, since he started making movies, to prove it. It saddened me to see that someone in the Inglorious Bastards thread made the assertion that Tarantino is the "superior" filmmaker. I'm not even sure what that means, but I can tell you that it's fightin words where I came from, and demonstrably false by any metric outside of average box office receipt.
While I agree that Do the Right Thing is a masterpiece, I have no idea what other films you're talking about with your One Masterpiece Per Decade declaration. I think comparing Lee and Tarantino is silly, but saying your personal preference is something that can be more correct than someone else's preference doesn't do your argument any favors.
Not that everyone will agree (since we all have different opinions and all), but I think the three masterpieces carax may have been referring to were Do The Right Thing (80's), Malcolm X (90's), and The 25th Hour (00's)...

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carax09
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Re: Spike Lee

#23 Post by carax09 » Sun Apr 19, 2009 11:09 pm

You're correct about the bookends, but for the 90's I was thinking of Crooklyn, a wonderful moving polaroid of an era (early 70's) when we knew our neighbors, and cared about them, even when they annoyed the shit out of us. As one would expect, Lindo and Woodard are excellent, but I'm amazed by the performances that Lee is able to get out of the children, especially the girl who plays Troy.

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Re: Spike Lee

#24 Post by Antoine Doinel » Fri Apr 24, 2009 4:03 pm

Antoine Doinel wrote:Spike Lee's next is a day-in-the-life documentary on Kobe Bryant, called Kobe Doin' Work.
Here's the trailer.

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Re: Spike Lee

#25 Post by Antoine Doinel » Tue May 05, 2009 3:00 pm

Rumor is that Kobe demanded creative control over Kobe Doin' Work and nearly deep sixed it.

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