Refusing to call our deplorable president Donald Trump by name, Spike Lee on Tuesday damned the U.S. president, repeatedly calling him a “mother-fucker” right at the beginning of the Cannes press conference for his new film BlacKkKlansman.
The film ends with footage of last year’s Charlottesville Nazi March, the resulting killing of Heather Heyer, and Trump’s reaction.
“That motherfucker was given a chance to say ‘we’re about love and not hate,’ and that motherfucker did not denounce the motherfucking Klan, the alt-right,” Lee said.
“We look to our leaders to give us direction, to make moral decisions,” he said, continuing, “this right-wing bullshit is all over the world.”
“We have to wake up. We can’t be silent,” Lee added, “so this film to me is a wake-up call.”
The audience broke out in applause a half-dozen times during the film’s Monday night premiere, followed by four minutes of applause during the credits and a six-minute standing ovation.
BlacKkKlansman, which focuses on a black police officer (Washington) who infiltrated the KKK in the 1970s, marks Lee’s sixth time in Cannes’ official lineup. He also screened She’s Gotta Have It and Jungle Fever in competition, while Girl 6 was at the festival in an out-of-competition spot and Summer of Sam played in the Directors’ Fortnight.
The final sequence of BlacKkKlansman was one of the most emotional finales to screen in Cannes in recent memory, splicing in real footage from the events in Charlottesville.