Following Monday’s press screening in Rome, Lee and “St. Anna” screenwriter James McBride were accused of misrepresenting facts surrounding the dynamics of the Nazi slaughter in the Tuscan village.
In the film, which spotlights the role of African-American soldiers in WWII, a resistance fighter named Rodolfo collaborates with the Nazis, indirectly sparking the slaughter. This aspect of Lee’s “St. Anna” has incensed partisan veteran organizations, which fear it could fuel a “revisionist” backlash, as former partisan Moreno Costa told Corriere della Sera.
“This is a fictional story,” McBride stressed to Variety. “The real question for me was how to make ‘St. Anna’ a reveal, because that is the craft of fiction.
“I am very sorry if I have offended the partisans. I have enormous respect for them. As a black American, we understand what it’s like for someone to tell your history, and they are not you.
“But unfortunately, the history of World War II here in Italy is ours as well, and this was the best I could do,” McBride added.
Lee, on the other hand, was not so remorseful.
“I am not apologizing for anything. I think these questions are evidence that there is still a lot about your history during the war that you (Italians) have got to come to grips with,” he said. “This film is no clear picture of what happened. It is our interpretation, and I stand behind it.”