In this breathtaking film, Spike Lee captures the highly-acclaimed eponymous Broadway musical show written by singer/songwriter Stew (with music cowritten by his creative partner, Heidi Rodewald). The original show, winner of the 2008 Tony Award in for Best Book of a Musical, was universally applauded for its originality, its deep emotional resonance, and its powerful, often high-octane, music. The resulting work unites revelatory theater with superb filmmaking, raising the whole to a dizzying plateau of emotional engagement.
PASSING STRANGE: THE MOVIE tells the semi-autobiographical story of a young black man who leaves behind his middle-class, church-ruled upbringing in mid-1970s Los Angeles to travel to Europe in search of his artistic and personal identity, or what he calls the real. Picaresque misadventures with sex, drugs, politics, and art await him in far-out Amsterdam and hyper-militant Berlin. His eyes are opened ever wider, even revealing what he left behind. An absolutely superb cast, ably supported by sparing (but pitch-perfect) costumes, design, and stagecraft, bring to life the emotionally charged story with its astounding original music, narrated and overseen by Stew himself. Lee's multicamera coverage of the event (including backstage scenes) involves the audience in not only the text but the electricity of the ensemble's onstage adventure.