Quantcast
Connect with us

Spike Lee to be first black head of Cannes film festival

Published

on

The maker of “Malcolm X” and “Do the Right Thing” is the first person of black African descent to preside at the world’s biggest film festival, which is held in May on the French Riviera.

Lee, 62, said he was “shocked, happy, surprised and proud all at the same time” to make history.

The Cannes veteran has premiered seven of his films at the festival, with his debut movie “She’s Gotta Have It” causing a sensation in 1986 when it won the youth prize at Directors’ Fortnight.

ADVERTISEMENT

His appointment comes as activists criticised the Oscars on Monday for ignoring actors and directors of colour, with no nominations for the acclaimed performances of Awkwafina in the Chinese-American drama “The Farewell” and Lupita Nyong’o in the horror movie “Us”.

Lee – who showed his last film “BlacKkKlansman” at Cannes two years ago – said “my biggest blessings… have happened out of nowhere.

“I’m honoured to be the first person of the African diaspora (USA) to be named president of the Cannes jury and of a main film festival.”

Lee will also be awarded a Palme d’Or, the festival’s top award, for lifetime achievement.

In a written statement from his home in “Da People’s Republic Of Brooklyn, New York”, Lee said Cannes had changed his life.

ADVERTISEMENT

“To me the Cannes film festival (besides being the most important film festival in the world – no disrespect to anybody) has had a great impact on my film career.

“You could easily say Cannes changed the trajectory of who I became in world cinema,” he added.

Lack of diversity

ADVERTISEMENT

Lee also thanked “the great people of France who have supported my film career throughout four decades. I will always treasure this special relationship.”

Only one Asian, the Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-wai, has ever led the Cannes jury in its 73-year history.

ADVERTISEMENT

French actress Isabelle Adjani, whose father was Algerian, became the first person of African descent to lead the jury in 1997.

The world’s top film festivals have faced fierce criticism for their lack of diversity in recent years.

Cannes and its rival Venice have faced growing scrutiny, particularly for the lack of female directors in their main competitions, even as they have chosen gender-balanced juries.

ADVERTISEMENT

More than 80 actresses and woman filmmakers led by then jury president Cate Blanchett staged a red carpet protest at Cannes for equality in the film industry in 2018.

Lee was vocal in his support for the women at the time.

“Spike Lee’s perspective is more valuable than ever,” festival director Thierry Fremaux said.

“Cannes is a natural homeland and a global sounding board for those who awaken minds and question our stances and fixed ideas.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Lee’s flamboyant personality is sure to shake things up,” he added.

Last year the jury was led by “Babel” and “The Revenant” director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, the first Mexican and only the second Latin American to preside over the festival.

The winning film, Korean Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite”, has since become a runaway hit, winning the Golden Globe for best foreign film and six Oscar nominations.

ADVERTISEMENT

Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

2020 Election

Here are 3 winners and 3 losers from the 2020 Democratic presidential primary debate

Published

on

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined the other leading Democratic presidential primary candidates Wednesday night in the fieriest evening of the race so far.

His presence on the stage drew fire from the other candidates, but it also seemed to change the overall tone of the debate, with more attacks, counter-attacks, and passion than was generally seen earlier in the campaign.

Here’s a (necessarily subjective!) list of the winners and losers from the fray:

Winners

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) — Warren hit her stride right as the debate started by attacking Bloomberg for his record on the mistreatment of women, racist policies, and his tax returns. She repeatedly came back to skewer the former mayor, making herself the biggest and most notable presence in the debate. But importantly, she also continuously brought the discussion back to the issues she cares about — like expanding health care, environmental justice,  and consumer protection — while getting in digs at the other candidates on the stage.

Continue Reading

Facebook

Michael Bloomberg ‘lost everything’ in Las Vegas: MSNBC analyst

Published

on

Senior editor for "The Root," Jason Johnson, concluded that the biggest loser of the Democratic debate in Las Vegas Wednesday was Michael Bloomberg, but not merely because of his debate performance.

"The big new name was going to be Michael Bloomberg," he said. "This was probably the most expensive night in Vegas I've ever seen. He lost everything. This guy has spent $320 million. He had the opportunity to stand on stage, and appear to be an equal, and he looked bored. He looked disenchanted. He stumbled over obvious questions that anybody would have anticipated about sexual harassment and stop and frisk. I thought it was a bad night for him."

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

Pro-immigration protesters interrupt Joe Biden’s closing statement at debate

Published

on

Former Vice President Joe Biden's closing statement was interrupted by protesters at Thursday night's Democratic presidential debate.

As Biden began his remarks, demonstrators began shouting about the Obama administration's record on deportations.

WATCH: Protesters interrupt the #DemDebate as the debate nears end. pic.twitter.com/TKCn6eIEsN

— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 20, 2020

Continue Reading
 
 
close-image