One of my favorite filmmakers, Spike Lee, was out in rare form at the Cannes film fest talking about the whitewashing of black soldiers during WWII as he prepares to release Miracle at St. Anna – October release date?:
Lee said: ‚ÄúThere were many African-Americans who survived that war and who were upset at Clint for not having one [in the films]. That was his version: the negro soldier did not exist. I have a different version.‚Äù
He was speaking at a press conference in Cannes, where he gave the world premiere of an eight-minute trailer for his latest feature film, a war drama with which he hopes to set the record straight.
Miracle at St Anna is an epic story about members of the all-black 92nd Buffalo Division, which fought the Germans in Italy.
While refraining from using the word ‚Äúracist‚Äù, Lee said that rewriting Second World War history was typical of Hollywood. The Dirty Dozen was among the few films that showed the contribution made by African-American soldiers, he said. White heroes played by John Wayne and other Hollywood stars had until now overshadowed the sacrifice of brave heroes of colour who laid down their lives for their country, he added.
‚ÄúHere‚Äôs the paradox,‚Äù he said. ‚ÄúThese African-American men wanted to fight against fascism in the name of democracy. At the same time, they were still second-class citizens.‚Äù Although Lee emphasised his respect for Eastwood as a film-maker, he claimed that the director had been told of the African-Americans who fought at Iwo Jima, and had chosen to ignore that ‚Äúinformation‚Äù.
I’m going to be so all over this movie. I can’t wait. Lee is one of the few true American originals. Sure, he kinds of fell off the rails for a while but even when he was bad his films were still interesting. Do the Right Thing is a masterpiece. Go Spike go.