Friday, September 26, 2008


"MIRACLE AT ST. ANNA" - A HISTORICAL MASTERPIECE
If you understand the following line you will understand the film. This is a paraphrase. "I feel like I am finally free here in Italy. I never felt that at home." Home refers to the US.
This is a film about 4 black soldiers who end-up behind enemy lines in Italy. You should know a good part of the film is in Italian and German. Sometimes the subtitles move quite fast.
The film can be appreciated from two perspectives. It is of incredible historical value. This is the first film I have even seen which deals with how the Germans dealt with Italian partisans and blacks. It also addresses how bigotry by white officers lead to the needless deaths of black soldiers. The bigotry and historical relevance goes all the way to the soda shop in Louisiana wherein the owner will serve German prisoners of war, but not blacks in uniform.
The film begins with the main black character, Hector, shooting dead a customer at the post office. The question becomes why. This is the second perspective in the film, and the perspective I suspect Spike Lee felt to be most important.
Sant'Anna di Stazzema massacre creates a parallel to the injustices against black soldiers and the justice which finally comes to the main black soldier, Hector, and Sant'Anna di Stazzema. In the spirit of justice Spike Lee showed how inhumanity is not limited to whites, blacks, Germans, or Italians. He presents bad and good forces in each group. I particularly liked how the Germans twice were presented as saviors. My mentor was a Polish partisan who was being walked to a German firing squad when a German private moved his head to indicate to my mentor to run. He ran and survived. Two acts of humanity by German soldiers bring the story together.
This film unfortunately has a limited audience. While I loved it, it is not for people who are bored with history or get bored with complex questions of justice and compassion. I would be curious to know if the near empty theater is a result of the overwhelming bigotry the Latino community of Brownsville feels towards blacks. If this is true then it is sad.
I will say I was taken aback the first night "Broke Back Mountain" played in Brownsville. The theater was packed with straight couples. Brownsville will go to a film about gay cowboys, but not black WWII soldiers. I guess much has not changed since black soldiers were denied entry into white only establishments. To anyone who thinks I am being too hard, think - BISD does not celebrate the Martin Luther King Day Holiday, but does give a day off to celebrate the Board Members.
On the issue of bigotry, its openness in Brownsville rivals the days of linchings in East Texas. It is not that there is more in Brownsville, it is that in Brownsville people wear their bigotry and homophobia as badges of honor. They rationalize it with some level of psychotic intellectualism learned in a school for members of the KKK or SS officiers. What is worse are the people who look for leaders of this psychotic intellectualism and then honor it as if it makes them better than anyone else.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Or maybe its that no one has heard of the movie.

BobbyWC said...

You may be 100% right - It would make me feel better if you are right. But I have to say I go to the movies almost every weekend. It has been previewing for over a month. So regular movie goers had to have known the movie was coming out.

I mean there were only a hand full of people. But I do hope you are right.

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

It's had excellent TV advertising, so Brownsville (TV watchers, all!) have had much opportunity to know about it.

Anonymous said...

Please enlighten me as to which day off for BISD is to honor the board members. I must have missed that day and worked anyway.

BobbyWC said...

The issue of a day off for honoring the Board Members has been discussed for many years. This is nothing new. This year in 2008 it along with other holidays, such as Labor day has been dropped. But until this year the schools have been closed.

Anyone who could read would see the signs outside the schools noting the children had the day off. Do you really believe you help BISD with such posts?

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

"Labor day has been dropped."

It's a commie day, anyway, you know.