SPIKE Lee’s World War II movie Miracle at St Anna has provoked a storm of controversy in Italy, because it links an anti-Fascist resistance group to the Nazi killing of 560 civilians.
Lee and writer James McBride held a press conference in Rome where they were bombarded with questions about their portrayal of the slaughter —— which took place in a Tuscan village in 1944.
In the movie, a member of the partisan resistance group collaborates with the Nazis, prompting the killings. Veteran partisan organisations are unhappy, fearing the movie will prompt a backlash against their movement, and raise question marks about their role in the war. Critics in the country —— where the movie opens today —— have also panned Miracle at St Anna.
McBride maintains it was “a fictional story”, adding: “The real question for me was how to make St Anna a revealing film, because that is the craft of fiction. I’m 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.”
But Lee refused to back down, telling the press conference: “I am not apologising 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.” —— BangShowbiz.