TIME Magazine has Spike Lee and BlackKklansman, which will open on Friday, while EW has A Star is Born. Both films are barreling towards the Best Picture race at a high speed.
The ugliness of this current climate is front and center in BlacKkKlansman. There’s a line in the film, repeated four times by a propagandist played by Alec Baldwin who is hell-bent on spreading fear of blacks and Jews, that sums up the then and the now: “We had a great way of life.”
Like so many things in the film, the parallels between the 1970s and now are stinging. That propagandist’s line registers because it’s a sentiment that is felt today by so many—even those who aren’t outright racists. It’s the line I consider as I watch Lee bark loudly about Trump (whom he continues to refer to as Agent Orange) being a direct response to having eight years of a black President, within earshot of people who are just trying to enjoy their vacation, without having to think about all that.
“This brings me to another point,” he continues. “Let’s stop telling lies and teaching young people bullsh-t. The United States of America’s foundation is genocide of native people and slavery!”
At this point, Lee is at his loudest. He laughs every time he brings up something obvious. “That’s the foundation—the very fiber,” he says, standing up on the sidewalk, with three men on their boat watching him. “No people have been more patriotic than black folks, who shouldn’t be.”
The pair’s electricity on and off screen is undeniable as is their bond. “I think the biggest thing I learned is that sky’s the limit if you find a companion artistically, and you have a project,” says Cooper of working with Gaga. “There is no dreaming too big. What people can do together is so much more powerful than what they can do by themselves.” Adds Gaga, “I think what I learned from Bradley [is] it’s okay to be relentlessly sure of your vision, and to go after it with every fiber of your being, and to never stop white gloving what you’re making. Sometimes, as an artist, I second-guess myself when I go, ‘Am I pulling the thread? Am I unraveling the whole blanket now? Do I need to stop?’ It’s changed the way that I work today.”