PARIS: Spike Lee will lead the Cannes Film Festival jury this year, and festival organizers hope that the provocative American director “sets things out” at the meeting of the world’s elite in cinema.
Lee said he was “honored to be the first person of the African Diaspora” chosen for the prestigious position.
Festival organizer Thierry Fremaux said that appointing the first black president of the Cannes jury was not a political decision, but “a message of universality.” Fremaux, who spoke on French RTL radio on Tuesday, noted the different nationalities of jury members and directors whose films are screened in Cannes.
Many of Lee’s films have been shown in Cannes and his “BlacKkKlansman” won a major prize in Cannes last year. This year’s festival runs from 12-23 May and the rest of the jury members will be announced in April.
“When I received the call … I was shocked, happy, surprised and proud at the same time,” Lee said in a letter. He said Cannes “changed the trajectory of who I became in the world cinema.”
Without explicitly mentioning Lee’s career-long fight against racism or other political views, the festival said in a statement on Tuesday: “Lee’s perspective is more valuable than ever. Cannes is a natural homeland and a global sounding board for those who (re) awaken our minds and question our views and fixed ideas. “
Last year’s jury chairman was Mexican director Alejandro Iñárritu and the festival’s main prize went to the “Parasite” of Korean director Bong Joon-ho, this week nominated for the best international film at the Oscars.
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