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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Spike Vs Clint & the The Battle of Iwo Jima

I really wasn’t sure if this story was absolutely necessary to highlight but the feud between directors Spike Lee and Clint Eastwood appears to be escalating. I readily admit that I am a supporter of both artists’ films but if I am to be truly self-effacing, I may have to side with Mr. Eastwood in this matter. If you are not familiar with how this war of words started, Lee made a comment affirming that Eastwood’s last two war epic period films did not contain any men or women of color was not just a mild omission but an example of Hollywood racism. But in all fairness to Eastwood, he has showcased a number of Black and Brown actors in previous films and even directed the Bird biopic about famed jazz musician, Charlie "Bird" Parker which starred Oscar winner, Forest Whitaker.

As a matter of historical accuracy, Lee is correct-Black troops did participate in The Battle of Iwo Jima but it’s time for Black filmmakers to tackle these issues. Expecting Whites to have Black interests (unless you're Flavor Flav) in mind is a failed paradigm. And we must also address that a cultural shift (how many times have I used this term?) is imperative in order for serious prospective Black films to garner an audience-as minstrel theatre reigns supreme in Hollywood, loved and supported by Black and White audiences alike. Fortunately, Lee is working on a Black World War Two film so perhaps something can be said for doing it for yourself! But let’s take a look at the U.K.’s Guardian for more details:

The acrimonious feud between two of Hollywood's best-known film directors reached a new level of name-calling and accusation at the weekend as Spike Lee invoked America's bitter legacy of slavery in response to Clint Eastwood's comments to the Guardian on Friday.

Responding to Lee's criticism of his second world war films for ignoring black soldiers, Eastwood said America's most influential black director, should "shut his face".

But after the remarks were reported around the world, Lee hit back, reminding the older man that they were not "on a plantation".

Article continues
The reference to times when a white man could tell a black slave what to do came after Lee first issued a raft of fresh accusations against 78-year-old Eastwood, who has won five Oscars and boasts a string of celebrated gritty film roles, including "Dirty Harry" Callahan.

Lee, who has been nominated for two Academy awards, has made his own second world war film, Miracle at Santa Anna, which highlights an all-black US army division.

For more of the Guardian article click here

And speaking of Spike's upcoming flick, check out the poster for The Miracle at St. Anna-courtesy of Sergio from Bloodsport:

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