In stunning news from the world of moviemaking and International diplomacy, American filmmaker Spike Lee has managed to piss off Italy with his World War II movie, “The Miracle at St. Anna”. At issue is Lee and writer James McBride’s plotting of the film, which has an Italian partisan (the resistance fighters that fought the Nazis and Fascism during World War II) collaborating with the Nazis, thus leading to the 1944 massacre of 560 Italian civilians, a horrific event that is still being felt today. In Spike Lee’s movie, a partisan’s actions lead to the slaughter, and the surviving partisans in Italy, where the film recently showed, are none to please with Mister Spike’s (according to them) revisionist take on the subject.
After the brouhaha, James McBride, the film’s writer, apologized. Sorta. Via Variety:
“This is a fictional story,” McBride said. “The real question for me was how to make ‘St. Anna’ a reveal, because that is the craft of fiction.
“I am very sorry if I have offended the partisans. I have enormous respect for them. As a black American, we understand what it’s like for someone to tell your history, and they are not you.
“But unfortunately, the history of World War II here in Italy is ours as well, and this was the best I could do,” McBride added.
Spike Lee was less than apologetic. Okay, so Spike Lee didn’t apologize at all, and probably went on to piss off even more Italians with this:
“I am not apologizing for anything. I think these questions are evidence that there is still a lot about your history during the war that you (Italians) have got to come to grips with.
“This film is no clear picture of what happened. It is our interpretation, and I stand behind it.”
Yup. There’s nothing like having a stereotypical Ugly American come to your shores and tell you what’s what when it comes to your history. Way to go, Spike! You da man!
Below: Spike Lee educates the Italians on their history.