Netflix’s Da 5 Bloods was one of 2020’s most acclaimed films, scoring multiple award nominations in the process. Along with its gut-wrenching storyline and stellar performances, the film’s opening scene captured many viewers. Of course, the opening followed the tradition of other notable Spike Lee openings, and the director explained why Da 5 Bloods opens the way it does.
Since the beginning of his career, Spike Lee’s beautiful, yet complicated openings have been a signature part of his films. Over time, many of these openings have become iconic outside the actual films. Lee’s recent Netflix film fell right in line as one of his most memorable. Variety recently interviewed the Oscar-winning director about the history-cramming yet timely opening. Lee said:
It’s about getting the audience in tune and letting them know that these events were happening when there was a revolution going on in America with the Civil Rights Movement and the Anti-war movement.
Given the premise and Vietnam references in Da 5 Bloods, Spike Lee made sure to connect the various movements and moments of the 1960s and 1970s. Lee went on to explain about educating the current generation, while also illustrating his connection to the time. Lee stated:
I was ten years old, and I was watching this on TV. At the Lee dinner table, news events were discussed. I think it’s educational because I know from experience –but there’s a large population of young people, and I’m not blasting them — but the world didn’t start until they were born. For the older generation, [those scenes] it’s a reminder of the stuff that they grew up in.
Spike Lee was able to make his opening a time capsule of the tumultuous 1960s. With his characters being Vietnam War veterans, using the footage only made sense to illustrate what the conflict did to the United States and other countries. Seeing huge moments, such as the Moon landing and Kent State University shootings, kept the film grounded.
Spike Lee used Da 5 Bloods opening to reach across different generations. The footage allowed the film to remind Baby Boomers and Gen X of a time that still lives on in their minds. At the same time, he was able to show Millennials and Gen Z a part of history they may be unaware of. Using old footage showed so many parallels between the modern day movements, such as Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police, and movements of the 1960s. Being a child of the 1960s, Lee could see those similarities between his generation and current generations.