Spike Lee gets ready to do battle with Miracle at St Anna

From The Telegraph:

Lee The story is Miracle at St Anna, drawn from the novel of the same name by American author James McBride. Recounting the deeds of four “Buffalo Soldiers” from the US Army’s Negro 92nd Division, who are trapped behind enemy lines in Tuscany, the book is like a Roman mosaic, piecing together different narratives to reveal the complex moral landscape of war. Lee is using native actors, speaking their native tongues, and in the scene we have just witnessed English, German and Italian rattled around the room. Of the American actors, the best known is Derek Luke, who was excellent in Phillip Noyce’s apartheid film Catch a Fire and also starred in Robert Redford’s Lions for Lambs.

At first glance, a war film might seem an unusual departure for Lee. The 57-year-old director has tackled a number of genres in his 20-year career, but he forged his reputation by tackling issues – many of them controversial – that affected modern-day African-American communities. With films such as School Daze, Do the Right Thing, Jungle Fever and Clockers, he studied conflict within the black community, interracial tension, interracial sex and the horrors of the drug trade. “Actually, people don’t realise that it was the return of the black soldiers from the Second World War that laid the foundations for the civil rights movement,” he says. “There was a new militancy happening, and at the various training bases around the country you had violent outbreaks. And these negro soldiers had guns, too, so they weren’t going to take too much!”

More here.