Miracle At St Anna added to London Film Festival programme (2008)
Story by Jack Foley
SPIKE Lee’s Miracle At St. Anna has been added to the line-up for this year’s Times BFI London Film Festival.
The keenly-anticipated war movie will receive its UK premiere on Thursday, October 16, before being shown for a second time on Friday, 17 October. It is one of two new additions to the programme, along with the UK premiere of Jesús Ponce’s Lazy Days (Dejate Caer) (see below).
With a script adapted by James McBride from his own acclaimed novel, Miracle At St. Anna finds Lee giving new voice to the conventions of the epic war movie by reclaiming the experiences of America’s black servicemen during World War II.
Stationed in Tuscany in 1944, Staff Sergeant Stamps (Derek Luke), Sergeant Bishop Cummings (Michael Ealy), radio operator Hector Negron (Laz Alonso) and Sam Train (Omar Benson Miller) are members of the all-black 92nd Division Buffalo Soldiers who find themselves trapped behind enemy lines.
Balancing high action combat scenes with the human stories of the characters involved, Lee leavens his scrupulously authentic approach with magical realism, welcome humour and deeply felt emotion.
It should be among the most sought-after films of the festival, especially in light of Lee’s comments in Cannes, during which he attacked the content of Clint Eastwood’s Flags Of Our Fathers for failing to take into account the sacrifices of black soldiers in that campaign.
The other new addition to the LFF line-up, Lazy Days (Dejate Caer), will screen on Thursday, October 16 and Saturday, October 18.
Writer-director Jesús Ponce’s warm and witty story follows the lives of three slackers who spend their days sitting on a bench in a Seville suburb where they pass time drinking beer and commenting on the activities of the neighbourhood.
Ponce’s droll Andalusian dialogue defies easy translation but together with the wacky posse of characters, it offers a rhythm and pacing to the action that lifts the film beyond the realms of realism to a comic absurdism that casts a discerning eye over masculine myths and mores.