Spike Lee’s ‘BlacKkKlansman’ Earns 6-Minute Standing Ovation At Cannes Film Festival
BlacKkKlansman, the latest Spike Lee joint, just had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. It is being hailed as the writer/director’s “most flat-out entertaining” film in years, and you could certainly tell if you were in the theater on Sunday night, even if you only wandered in for the last few minutes.
The film tells the true story of a black police officer (played by John David Washington) who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s. During the screening, here were about a half-dozen bursts of spontaneous applause, which were followed by four minutes of continuous applause during the end credits and then a six-minute standing ovation.
This reception can serve as a bit of redemption for Lee. In 1989, his film Do the Right Thing lost the Palme d’Or (Cannes’ highest honor) to Steven Soderbergh‘s sex, lies, and videotape. At the time and over the years, he has made his disappointment clear regarding that year’s jury president, German director Wim Wenders (whose documentary Pope Francis: A Man of His Word also screened at Cannes this year). Wenders has claimed that Lee told him he would “be waiting for [him] in an alley with a baseball bat.”
BlacKkKlansman, which also stars Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Corey Hawkins, and Topher Grace as former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, will be released in U.S. theaters on August 10 (which will coincide with the one-year anniversary of the riots at the far-right rally in Charlottesville). The trailer debuted online yesterday, and it shows off a mix of funky 70s soul and a brazen fight for justice, with a fearless-looking performance from Washington (who sounds a bit like Jordan Peele, one of the film’s producers).