CANNES, France — The latest Spike Lee movie BlacKkKlansman first created a stir at the Cannes Film Festival and is expected to bring to the surface strong feelings regarding race relations simmering across America when it is released in late summer.
The film, based on a true story, chronicles the dangerous undertaking by Colorado Springs’ first African American police officer, Ron Stallworth, and a Jewish detective, Flip Zimmerman, who worked undercover to infiltrate the local Colorado chapter of the Ku Klux Klan in 1979.
Following his accomplishment of becoming Colorado Springs’ first ever black police detective in 1971, Stallworth later wrote a book about the operation, called “Black Klansman,” in 2006.
“BlacKkKlansman” ties its story to the violent protests of Charlottesville, Virginia. It stars Denzel Washington’s son, John David Washington, alongside Adam Driver and Topher Grace, who plays David Duke.
Sixty-one-year-old Spike Lee said that following the violence in Charlottesville, the U.S. president had the opportunity to denounce the Ku Klux Klan and the alt-right. But Trump instead chose to say there was “blame on both sides” in the unrest between the neo-Nazi groups and counter-protesters.
Lee included footage of the car that plowed through crowds in Virginia, killing counter-protester Heather Heyer, but said he only did so after he telephoned Heyer’s mother. “I was not going to put that murder scene in the film without her blessing,” said Lee.
Lee also said Trump — whom he refused to call by name — had “a chance to say we are about love and not hate,” and sharply criticized him for not denouncing the KKK.
“It was a defining moment and he could have said to the United States and the world that we’re better than that,” said Lee.
Focus Features will release the film in August, on the year anniversary of Charlottesville.