Spike Lee Slams Eastwood’s Lack of Black Soldiers in Iwo Jima Films

Spike Lee is making a splash at Cannes this year, by lashing out at Clint Eastwood for failing to include – or depict – any black soldiers in his recent WWII films: Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima.

Although Lee’s criticism is valid, he does have an alternate agenda: promoting his own WWII film, “Miracle at St. Anna“, which focuses on an all-black American military division that fought in Italy.

SpikeLee is slamming Clint Eastwood over his two recent Iwo Jima movies,saying the filmmaker overlooked the role of black soldiers during WorldWar II.

Lee – whose next film is this fall’s “Miracle at St. Anna,”the story of an all-black U.S. division fighting in Italy during thewar – said Eastwood’s 2006 movies “Flags of Our Fathers” and “LettersFrom Iwo Jima” were whites-only affairs.

“He did two films aboutIwo Jima back to back and there was not one black soldier in both ofthose films,” Lee said Tuesday at the Cannes Film Festival, where hewas a judge in an online short-film competition.

“Many veterans,African-Americans, who survived that war are upset at Clint Eastwood.In his vision of Iwo Jima, Negro soldiers did not exist. Simple asthat. I have a different version,” Lee said.

But there’s more to Lee’s Cannes fest agenda than asserting his vision for filmic depictions of WWI race politics. The director is also in attendance to demonstrate his new media swagger and hand out cash and awards to winners of an online film festival hosted and produced by Babelgum.

Spike Lee was in Cannes to hand out awards of $31,360 each to seven emerging directors whose work was championed by Internet users in an online film festival hosted by Babelgum, an Internet company that streams videos online for free.

The awards ceremony late Tuesday was hosted on the sidelines of the famous French Riviera festival. About 2,000 short films were submitted, and 1,012 films from 86 countries were picked to compete. Hundreds of thousands of people watched the movies, posted comments or voted on their favorite picks.

Films that generated buzz online were whittled down by a jury, and Lee had the final say.

Lee believes there’s more interesting, innovative material online than on TV or in movie theaters.

Love or hate him, Lee’s done a great job of setting the fest abuzz with his news and views. Now where’s the juicy gossip about his diva director’s demands?

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2 thoughts on “Spike Lee Slams Eastwood’s Lack of Black Soldiers in Iwo Jima Films

  1. JRL

    Spike Lee is disengenous at best. Claiming black soldiers were left out for some sinister reason is bunk. Lee proudly claims nearly 900 participated yet fails to mention that was about 1% of the total soldiers who participated. Granted black americans played a vital roll in the war as they have in many other wars and continue to do so today. I tend to think of them as American soldiers not black soldiers.

  2. Pingback: BOFF Press/Blog Coverage at Babelgum Blog

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