Spike Lee back to head Cannes jury

Director keeps faith with July edition of festival

by Richard Mowe

Spike Lee, who was last in Cannes in 2018
Spike Lee, who was last in Cannes in 2018 Photo: Richard Mowe

The organisers of the 74th Cannes Film Festival, scheduled to run at revised dates from the 6 to 17 July, have confirmed that frequent Croisette visitor Spike Lee has agreed to be president of the official jury.

Lee was supposed to have been president of last year’s event but the plans were cancelled when the Covid-hit event went online in restricted form. The director, actor, writer, editor and producer stayed faithful to the promise made then that he would ready for jury duty whenever circumstances allowed the festival to return.

"Throughout the months of uncertainty we’ve just been through, Spike Lee has never stopped encouraging us. This support is finally coming to fruition and we could not have hoped for a more powerful personality to chart our troubled times", says Pierre Lescure, President of the Festival.

"His enthusiasm and passion for cinema has given us a huge boost of energy to prepare the great Festival that everybody has been awaiting for. The party will be great, we simply can’t wait! "says Thierry Frémaux, General Delegate.

The Official Selection and the composition of the Jury will be unveiled in early June. Surrounded by the members of his Jury, Lee - the first black jury President - will award the Palme d'Or at the closing ceremony on Saturday, July 17.

Lee’s groundbreaking Do The Right Thing in 1989 followed two years later by Jungle Fever were fixtures on the red carpet at Cannes, where they blew audiences away with their corrosive humour.

In 2018, after a 22-year absence, Brooklyn-based Lee returned to the Competition with BlacKkKlansman, a scathing comedy mixed with detective thriller and political tract. The film won the Grand Prix followed by the director's first Oscar. His latest film Da 5 Bloods is available on Netflix.

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