Monday, May 18, 2009
Do I need to apologize for always coming late to the table with my discoveries of great meltingpot movies? I think I've already explained that I allowed my Netflix subscription to run out and that the public library is my video store, which explains why I'm always a couple of months...okay, years behind the eight ball.
But I choose to believe that some of you out there have lives like mine and you don't make it to the cineplex as often as you'd like, which is why I continue to post my movie recommendations. So, without further ado (drum roll please)...
You must rent, borrow or buy, Spike Lee'sMiracle at St. Anna. The movie, based on the book by James McBride, is about four Black soldiers who get separated from their regiment in WWII Italy. They end up in a small Tuscan village, surrounded by Nazis soldiers, where they hole up with an Italian family until they can plan their next move.
That's actually only part of the story. The movie is really a thriller/mystery infused with much grander themes, like racism and the human cost of war, and religion and love and revenge. It feels like a real departure for a Spike Lee film, and yet I feel only Spike Lee could have successfully woven the complexities of the Black experience into a "war movie." And yet this is not a movie about Black soldiers. It really is a war movie, where the soldiers happen to be Black. My husband and I stayed up to watch it on Saturday night, woke up still talking about it Sunday morning, and re-watched a few pivotal scenes on Sunday night. And I may watch it again.
Of course, it seems Spike Lee can't go to the bathroom without courting controversy, so just so you feel like I'm being honest here, here is an article
from The Guardian, which details the response some Italians had regarding the "truthiness" of the film. Of course, the film was based on a novel, which doesn't claim to be a true story, so...I'm just saying maybe they were really mad about something else?
And speaking of that novel, I am a big James McBride fan and purchased The Miracle at St. Anna at a book store blow out sale a few weeks ago. I actually forgot I bought it until watching the movie. Can you guess what's on my nightstand now? This is probably the first time I've ever watched a film and then turned to the book.
So has anybody already seen this movie? Did you enjoy it? As a Black woman married to a European man, who has an obsession with noting the Black experience in Europe, I guess I really appreciated seeing another piece of that history. Does anybody have any other books or movies that examine this part of the Black American experience in Europe to recommend? I'm listening.