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When the Levees Broke

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Product Overview

One year after Hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans, director Spike Lee presents a four-hour, four-part chronicle recounting, through words and images, one of our country's most profound natural disasters.

In addition to revisiting the hours leading up to the arrival of Katrina, a Category 5 hurricane, before it hit the coast of Louisiana, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts tells the personal stories of those who lived to tell about it, at the same time exploring the underbelly of a nation where the divide along race and class lines has never been more pronounced.


Studio HBO
SKU 203167203
UPC 026359397325
UPC 14 00026359397325
Format DVD
Release Date 12/19/2006
Aspect Ratio
Anamorphic Widescreen  1.85:1
Cast & Crew
Al Sharpton - Featuring
Barbara Bush - Featuring
Cliff Charles - Cinematographer
Condoleezza Rice - Featuring
Dick Cheney - Featuring
George W. Bush - Featuring
Kanye West - Featuring
Mike Myers - Featuring
Samuel D. Pollard, et. al. - Editor
Sean Penn - Featuring
Sheila Nevins - Executive Producer
Spike Lee - Producer
Spike Lee - Director
Terence Blanchard - Original Music By
Winner (2006) Venice Film Festival, Spike Lee, Human Rights Film Network Award,Venice Film Festival, Spike Lee, Venice Horizons Documentary Award
ReviewSource Variety
Review Charged with profound sorrow, galvanizing outrage and defiant resolve, Spike Lee's extraordinary "When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts" renders the worst natural disaster in U.S. history -- Hurricane Katrina's unforgiving assault on New Orleans and other Gulf Coast communities -- as a perfect storm of catastrophic weather, human error, socioeconomic inequity and bureaucratic dysfunction...Notes of foreboding are sounded in interviews -- some filmed as recently as two months ago -- with experts who question whether the city's levee system is now, or ever can be, sufficient. But the scrappy nature of surviving long-time residents is at once amusing and inspiring.
Reviewer Joe Leydon
ReviewRating 10
ReviewSource Washington Post
Review It is the anger that cuts deepest -- a righteous, laser-focused anger born of betrayal, laced with sadness, a rumbling anger that pumps like blood through the veins of Spike Lee's masterly Katrina documentary, "When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts"...Along with visuals that capture all aspects of the disaster, these bitter, wounded, poignant, thoughtful, expert and often foul-mouthed voices are knitted together in a tightly edited film that manages to sustain four hours without a central narrator...Katrina: The word conjures horrors. It conjures a collective psychic wound for many Americans, especially black Americans and, of course, most especially for the victims.
Reviewer Lynne Duke
ReviewRating 10
DVD, Widescreen
Product Attributes
Video Format DVD
David Bianculli, New York Daily News ...[Lee explores his] subject thoroughly, honestly and rivetingly.
Joanna Weiss, Boston Globe ...a relentless civics lesson about the storm and its still-unfolding aftermath.
Sam Adams, Philadelphia City Paper ...Lee's capacious overview is a symphony of American voices, a great chorus of anger, sorrow and disbelief.
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