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Spike Lee’s gotta have it.
The Cannes Film Festival is paying tribute to the ground-breaking U.S. director by putting the Oscar-winning filmmaker behind Do the Right Thing, BlacKkKlansman, and Malcolm X on its poster for the 74th Festival de Cannes.
The image shows Lee in his iconic role as Mars Blackmon — the character from his 1986 feature debut She’s Gotta Have It, which premiered in Cannes. Lee revived the Mars character for a series of Nike commercials featuring Michael Jordan. On Mars’ hat, in place of the Nike swoosh, the poster shows Cannes’ Palme d’Or emblem. Lee looks up pensively at the palm trees that line Cannes’ main throughway, the Croisette.
Lee is jury president of this year’s Cannes festival and will oversee the international jury that selects this year’s Palme d’Or. The director was set to head up the 2020 jury before Cannes last year canceled the festival due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Cannes called Lee’s Blackmon character from She’s Gotta Have It “a stereotypical representation of the Afro-American community that the film blows apart,” and said it embodied the director’s “mischievous eye which, despite constantly questioning and incessantly rebelling for nearly four decades, never neglects entertainment.”
Lee is a Cannes regular, having debuted five of his features at the French festival, including Do The Right Thing (1989), BlacKkKlansman (2018) — which won the jury prize — and Jungle Fever (1991). Lee also contributed a short film to the omnibus project Ten Minutes Older – The Trumpet, which premiered in Cannes in 2002.
Cannes said last year that Lee’s Netflix film Da 5 Bloods would have premiered on the Croisette if the festival had gone ahead as planned.
The 2021 Cannes Film Festival runs July 6-17.
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