Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman recently premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, receiving an almost 10-minute standing ovation from the audience. Although the film is a satirical comedy, the message is clearly a serious one. Spike Lee, himself, refers to the project as a “wake-up call for Trump’s America.” A majority of critics agree.
According to Gold Derby, Lee’s BlacKkKlansman is his third film in competition. His first full-length feature film screened in the Director’s Fortnight, earning a nomination for the Camera d’Or. His next two visits to Cannes were for Do the Right Thing and Jungle Fever. Both films played in competition. Spike Lee has had other films screened in the Director’s Fortnight, however, there were no nominations given for these films.
Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing ran in competition against Steven Soderbergh’s Sex, Lies, and Videotape for the Palme d’Or award at Cannes in 1989, but Lee ultimately lost. He still blames German filmmaker Wim Wenders for the snub, claiming he was “robbed” of the prestigious award.
In its 63-year history, the Palme d’Or award has not once been given to a film with a black director. Spike is back for another round, this time carrying an anti-racial and fully anti-Trump film in his arsenal. BlacKkKlansman not only received an ovation after its premiere in Cannes, it also earned rave reviews from critics. Quartzy reported that Spike Lee’s newest film has become an early frontrunner for an Oscar.
BlacKkKlansman is the true story of a black police officer named Ron Stallworth, who was able to infiltrate the KKK in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
After the premiere in Cannes, Lee gave an ardent press conference that outlined his intentions for the film. He explained portions of the film at the press conference and how they relate to life in today’s day and age.
The film concludes with a dedication to Heather Heyer, who was run down by a car during a counter-protest against the right-wing march. Spike stated that he knew the scene was an important one because it was, in fact, a murder. Before adding the scene into the movie, Lee obtained permission from Heyer’s mother.
As reported by Indie Wire, the final scene in BlacKkKlansman is designed to get the viewer thinking about the current situation of the United States. Lee used the press conference to admonish President Trump for the way Heather Heyer’s death was handled and the message he sent around the world when he didn’t call out the “Klan, the alt-right, and those Nazis.” Lee furthered his thoughts by stating, “It was a defining moment, and he could have said to the world, not just the United States, that we were better than that.”
“This film, to me, is a wake-up call because…stuff is happening, and it’s topsy-turvy and the fake has been trumpeted as the truth. That’s what this film is about. I know my heart, I don’t care what the critics say or anybody else, but we are on the right side of history with this film.”
BlacKkKlansman will be released on August 10 by Focus Features. The release is specifically timed to mark the first anniversary of the Charlottesville march.