Cannes, (EFE).- Spike Lee showed up to the Cannes jury press conference reluctant to speak much but delivered biting statements as he denounced that Black people are still “being hunted down like animals” and the lack of morals of certain world leaders he called “gangsters.”
Lee, who will preside over the jury for the 74th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, first participated in the prestigious cinema celebration with the nomination of Do the Right Thing, a feature film that addressed racial tensions and violence in Brooklyn.
Thirty-two years later, he laments that the situation of the Black community has barely changed.
“You would think and hope that 30-something m*****f***** years later that Black people would have stopped being hunted down like animals,” he said, in reference to the murders of Eric Garner and George Floyd.
He also accused world leaders of running the world like “gangsters,” mentioning former US President Donald Trump, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and President of Russia Vladimir Putin.
“That’s the world we live in, and we have to speak out against gangsters like that,” he said, in response to a question concerning attacks against the LGBTI community in Georgia.
Lee was quick to announce he would not take any more questions, redirecting journalists to the rest of the jury panel, composed of Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Jessica Hausner, Mati Diop, Myléne Farmer, Kleber Mendonça, Tahar Rahim and Song Kang-Ho.
Gyllenhaal veered the discussion back to cinema, pointing out that movies and politics interweave constantly, sometimes in very emotional ways, which allows the seventh art to reach the minds and hearts of its audience.
Tahar Rahim, one of the lead actors in Netflix’s The Serpent, dismissed controversy fueled by the French press over his wife Leila Bekhti featuring in one of the Palme d’Or contenders, The Restless.
“She’s an actress like any other. I don’t see the problem,” he said.
The members of the jury recalled some of their fondest memories at Cannes, which is back after the Covid-19 pandemic prevented a 2020 edition.
“The fact that we’re all here together is a miracle, so that makes it even more of an honour to be here,” said Song Kang-ho, who starred in the 2019 Golden Palm winner Parasite.
Lee remembered flying to New York and back during the festival in the 90s only to support the NY Nicks in NBA finals – which they lost – while Mendonça was nostalgic of the many years he attended as a journalist and film critic, before he ever appeared as a filmmaker.
Lee will be the first ever Black chair of a Cannes jury, which will be the fourth female-majority board in the festival’s history. EFE
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