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Lee to film black soldiers

SpikeLee.jpgYou'll remember there was some controversy when Clint Eastwood's films about the Iwo Jima World War II battles had little mention of the black soldiers who lost their lives during the war. Well now Spike Lee looks set to put the record straight.

Spike Lee told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica that he was going to adapat the novel by James McBride called Miracle at St. Anna, and that the film would try to recognise the sacrifice of the African-American soldiers in World War II.

The book tells the story of the all-black 92nd Buffalo Division who were fighting in Tuscany, and their efforts during the war. The story looks at a personal friendship that grows between one of the soldiers and a local orphan.

Through Yahoo News Lee is quoted as saying:

"America started to remember the sacrifice of black soldiers in films on the Vietnam war, but before then, in those on World War Two, they were almost invisible...

...I recently met a black veteran who fought at Iwo Jima and he told me how hurt he was that he could not find a single African-American in Clint Eastwood's two films..."

Lee goes onto say that he doesn't want to portray the German soldiers as the facelss, hated Nazi's that are so often shown in war films, and it sounds as though he wants to portray them as Eastwood did in his Letters from Iwo Jima film.

I'm glad that more films are taking this viewpoint, rather than just making them good and evil they portray them as they really were, complex humans with their own beliefs and drives, however wrong they might be.

The only negative thing I feel about this, and about the Eastwood war films as well as many others, are the contribution of all the different races and nationalities of soldiers that are not highlighted. Of course to make so many stories about individual battles and groups of soldiers would soon saturate the market, but if any war film gave a fair representation of all those involved it would be much more realistic. Not just that but the films portrayal would be accepted by many more people.

Imagine if Saving Private Ryan had showed more nationalities of troops in active fighting for example? I hope Lee doesn't leap too far in the opposite direction to polarise the stories that don't chronicle the efforts of these soldiers. I hope that he looks at the novel and adapts it for what it is, rather than to present the opposite view from films such as Eastwood's.

Saying that I think he will, and he'll produce an entertaining and morally strong film too. More than all of this I'm interested to see what Lee will make of a war film.



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