Varied cinematic representations of the Ku Klux Klan date back almost as far as cinema itself.
Going back to 1915, D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation was the first major (and first majorly profitable) cinematic event, bringing unprecedentedly large audiences to theaters and introducing them to the power of cinema. At the time, almost everybody adored it, hell, even President Woodrow Wilson infamously said that the film was ‘like writing history with lightning’ – a statement that may have been responsible for the start of capitalism taking hold of cinema, but also a statement that shows admiration for the Klan from the man in control of the most powerful country in the world due to cinematic representation. To say that this moment has tainted cinema would be an understatement – at a crucial moment in film becoming what it is today, success was found (and future success became based) upon a foundation of racism.
This review was originally written for Cinematary. You can read the full review at their website here! – https://www.cinematary.com/writing/2019/12/5/blackkklansman-2018-by-spike-lee