Carousel of the Arts – ‘Blackkklansman’: Spike Lee ridicules racists

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American filmmaker Spike Lee premiered his new film ‘Blackkklansman’ in France. The film, which oscillates between action and humor, tells the true story of an African-American policeman who infiltrated the Ku Kux Klan.

Blackkklansman is a very political movie. It is inspired by the book that tells the true story of Ron Stallworth *, an African-American policeman who infiltrated the racist organization Ku Klux Klan in 1978 in the city of Colorado Springs. The filmmaker Spike Lee, faithful to his theme about African Americans, portrays with talent and humor that time of the struggles against racism, the Vietnam War and police violence.

Awarded for this film at the Cannes festival last May with the Grand Prix du Jury, Spike Lee was given the task of “connecting that period of the 70s with the present.”

“Because what is happening today did not come out of nowhere. There are links between the 70s and today. The US should never have gone to war in Vietnam. After WWII, all US wars They were bad decisions. And when we see in the news images these images of demonstrations in Charlottesville, it looks like a mini civil war with fists, clubs and bats, “he said in May in Cannes, during the promotion of his film.

The adventures of young policeman Ron Stallworth – played by David Washington, Denzel Washington’s son – begin at the police station itself, where he must fight the scorn of some of his colleagues for his skin color.

Adam Driver and John David Washington, protagonists of the Spike Lee film. Universal Pictures

But with the help of others, Ron manages to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan, a powerful white supremacist organization. The originality of the film is the irony and humor that emerge in various scenes, such as when Stallworth pokes fun at the different ways of talking about blacks and whites.

Spike Lee also lampoons racist whites who spend their weekends shooting at silhouettes of men with African American cuts.

Black Power

The other prominent character in the film is that of Patrice Dumas – actress Laura Harrier-, an African-American student leader who is empowered and determined to fight for black power, the ‘black power’, which leads her to treat the police as’ pigs ‘. Blackkklansmann is also articulated around a dilemma faced by the young policeman Ron Stallworth: he is in love with said African-American student leader, but he needs to keep his identity as a police officer secret to guarantee the success of his undercover operation against the ‘KKK’.

Contrasts abound in the film: contrasts between the hatred of whites, and the love and beauty of the emancipated Afro-American community, a contrast between the solidarity of some fellow police officers and the racism of others towards the protagonist. And aesthetic and visual contrasts, sometimes abrupt between fiction, reality, past and present. The film includes images from the racist film ‘Birth of a Nation’, and ends with images of the racist demonstrations in Charlottesville in 2017 and the ambiguous statements of Donald Trump who equated racist militants with antiracists.

The shadow of the neo-Nazis

Director Spike Lee chose to release the film on the day of the first anniversary of the events that led to the death of Heather Heyer, an anti-fascist activist, hit by a racist driver in Charlottesville.

During the presentation of his film, Spike Lee, with the direct style that characterizes him, also attacked Donald Trump, and vindicated the militant character of his film. “We have a guy in the White House, and I’m not going to mention his name, who at a decisive moment, this son of …, could have said to the world, not just the United States, ‘we are love and not hate.’ This damned did not denounce these damned Ku Klux Klan, neither the extreme right nor the Nazis. I could have told the world that America is better than this. The United States of America was built on the genocide of natives and slaves. That’s how it was made, “said Lee, in what was the most shocking press conference of the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

After several years without much success, the filmmaker Spike Lee was acclaimed by critics and his film started with dynamism at the French box office. Blackkklansman joins two other recent films: ‘Get Out’ and ‘Three Billboards’, which also vigorously explore the issue of racism against African Americans.

*’Black Klansman’, by Ron Stallworth.

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Carousel of the Arts – ‘Blackkklansman’: Spike Lee ridicules racists

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