Spike Lee kicked off the Cannes Film Festival in France on Tuesday (July 6) by sharing his dismay that Black people are still being “hunted like animals” in the U.S.
The first black competition jury president in the festival’s 74-year history, the director joined jury members Mati Diop, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Melanie Laurent, and Tahar Rahim, among others, to launch the return of the in-person Cannes, which Lee called “”the world’s greatest film festival.”
During the press conference, Spike Lee was asked about his seminal film “Do The Right Thing,” which showed in competition at Cannes in 1989, noting that the treatment of black Americans – one of the themes of the movie – is still a hot button topic.
Noting the deaths of George Floyd and Eric Garner at the hands of white police officers, he said, “You would think and hope that 30-something m############ years later that black people would have stopped being hunted down like animals.”
Spike Lee also took aim at former U.S. leader Donald Trump, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, and Vladimir Putin, calling them “gangsters” with “no morals, no scruples.
“That’s the world we live in, and we have to speak out against gangsters like that,” he told the media.
Cannes 2021 opened on Tuesday night with director Leo Carax’s Sparks musical Annette, starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard.