Spike Lee on His Film “BlacKkKlansman”

Visionary director Spike Lee joins the program to discuss his film “BlacKkKlansman,” a major awards contender calling out racial injustice and terror in the US.

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I mean here you are again you know creating this serious message out of comedy.

While this is not the first film history of cinema has done that.

One of my favorite filmmaker Stanley Kubrick did that with Dr.

Strangelove, what could be more serious than the annihilation of the human race the human the human race and the planet gone caput.

So it's the hard thing to do is get the balance, the balance between serious subject matter and the humor and so I have a great editor his name is Barry Alexander Brown, edited Do The Right Thing, Malcolm X, you know we've been working a long time so that's we had to do an edit room work on the balance of those two things.

Now look you have been dealing with the I know you've just said and put me to shame I know that this is not the first time that humor's has been you but what I want to know from you is look you've been working on the dark side of American life for a long long time and you are you know an African-American a black man in a society where racism is still very strong.

How do you keep that sense of humor. How do you keep telling stories that are accessible and are not just angry?

Well I guess that old saying you gotta smile to keep from crying whatever it is, I know I'm getting it wrong.

But here's the thing no I first of all I'm a storyteller.

That's what I do.

Not all my stories are really based on race but the thing I feel why people connect with this film over the world is that we is very skillfully made a contemporary film that takes place in the past.

We've connected the past with the tumultuous world we live in today.

I also like to add is not just this film not just talking about United States of America.

To write this the rise of the right is happening all over the world not just United States of America.

But your film was made ensuring the Charlottesville protests and you make a very powerful powerful tribute to the young woman who was killed during those protests, Heather Heyer.

I mean that's that was really a a wallop in the solar plexus to see that after the credits rolled and after the you know somewhat humorous really interesting film to see that was a real reality check.

Yes what that was it was example of homegrown American terrorism.

That car was a murder weapon.

And this terrorist drove down that crowded street and murdered Heather Heyer.

About This Episode EXPAND

Christiane Amanpour talks with Ali Soufan & Lawrence Wright about the Middle East; & director Spike Lee about his film “BlacKkKlansman.” Walter Isaacson speaks with Andrew Ross Sorkin about how credit cards are being used to finance mass shootings. *A bill discussed on this program as having passed through the House of Representatives ended up being delayed in Congress. We apologize for the error.