A film in colour

Film. Spike Lee is back to the Cannes Festival with Blackkklansman, the astonishing story of a black policeman who infiltrated the Klu Klux Klan.

By Jacques Braunstein

In 1989, Spike Lee was the favorite for the Palm d’Or with his movie Do the Right Think, but went away empty-handed. After a second unsuccessful try with Jungle Fever in 1991, he ends up turning away from the Cannes Film Festival. He came back last year, almost as a clandestin passenger, with his Netflix movie Rodney King.

It seems like he took the opportunity to talk to the Festival officials, since his new film Blackkklansman is competing this year. Based on an unbelievable but still true story, Blackkklansman tells the story of a black policeman, Ron Stallworth, who succeeded infiltrate the Klu Klux Klan, the white supremacist organization, during the 70s. John David Washington, Denzel Washington’s son, embodies the policeman who achieved to regularly exchange with the chief of Klan, David Duke.

Obviously, he was just talking to them through the phone. It is one of his colleagues, Flip Zimmerman, interpreted by Adam Driver, who meet the Klan followers, whereas he was jewish himself.

The movie echoes with the news, since the same David Duke is nowadays an active support to Donald Trump. Quotes as « Make America great » or « America First » are used several times and do not really make the audience laugh.

Less pessimistic than other films from the black militant director, Blackkklansman features a black, a jew and white people acting together against a common enemy. The main character consider the possibility to change the system from the inside, before discovering this method was a failure. Spike Lee has always mixed genres. Here, he switches from the comedy in costume to the action movie, then to the political movie to the rural America’s chronicle. But this constant mutation of registers seems to affect the all picture. In the end, Blackkklansman appears to be a good detective comedy which doesn’t yet succeed to be the great political movie his director aspired to make.