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watch the trailer for spike lee’s controversial new film on gun violence

“Welcome to Chi-raq, land of pain, misery and strife!”

Felicity Kinsella

Although a common nickname for Chicago's South Side due to its high crime rates, the city's mayor Rahm Emanuel was not happy with the title of Spike Lee's new film, Chi-raq, and the picture it paints of the city. A portmanteau of "Chicago" and "Iraq", Chi-raq is a satire on gun violence, based on the ancient Greek comedy Lysistrata by Aristophanes, in which Lysistrata convinces the rest of the women to withhold sex from their husbands until they co-operate peacefully as a means to end the Peloponnesian War. Similarly, the women of Chi-raq, led by Teyonah Paris as Lysistrata, "deny rights of access and entrance," until their men give up their guns.

The newly released trailer opens with a repeated "THIS IS AN EMERGENCY" before stating: "Homicides in Chicago, Illinois have surpassed the death toll of American special forces in Iraq." Reinforcing his point, and in response to Mayor Emanuel's criticism, Lee told Chicago magazine, "We started shooting Chi-Raq June 1. We finished July 9. During that time, 331 people got wounded, 65 murdered. New York City has three times the population of Chicago; Chicago has more homicides than New York City."

Today marks exactly one month from the films release (it will be available on Amazon Instant Video after its theatrical 4th December release), and also stars Samuel L. Jackson, Nick Cannon, John Cusak, Jennifer Hudson.

Check out the trailer below....