New Film ‘BlacKkKlansman’ Criticizes Trump, Gets Standing Ovation at Cannes
Director Spike Lee received a six-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival after the Monday night premiere of his new drama BlacKkKlansman, based on the true story of two undercover detectives, one black and the other Jewish, who infiltrated the Klu Klux Klan (KKK) in 1979.
The film is based on Ron Stallworth’s book recounting his real-life experience, and feels timely now in our current political climate. John David Washington stars as Stallworth and Adam Driver as Flip Zimmerman, his Jewish partner in the case. Washington’s character eventually becomes the head of the local chapter of the KKK.
There are also many commentaries against current President Trump throughout BlacKkKlansman — one KKK member talks about embracing an “America first” policy and the film makes parallels between the rise of Trump and the political ambitions of former Grand Wizard David Duke.
The film reportedly even utilizes footage of Trump refusing to condemn the actions of white nationalists during the deadly 2017 Charlottesville riot.
Lee walked the red carpet wearing brass knuckles that said “love” on one hand and “hate” on the other, an image made famous in his modern classic that also focused on race relations, 1989’s Do the Right Thing.
BlacKkKlansman is gearing up to be one of this year’s most buzz-worthy discoveries at the Cannes festival, which entered its second week.
Lee will be a strong contender for the Cannes best-director prize and as well as the Palme d’Or, the festival’s top honor. If he wins, it may be seen as retribution after Do the Right Thing was infamously passed over for the award at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival.
Focus Features released the trailer on Monday, in conjunction with the premiere. In it, Washington and Driver’s characters team up to begin their infiltration of the KKK.
In addition to writing the screenplay, Lee served as producer along with Jordan Peele, Jason Blum, Sean McKittrick, Raymond Mansfield, and Shaun Redick.
BlacKkKlansman opens on Aug. 10, roughly a year after the white nationalist riots in Charlotteville.