Spike Lee got candid about race in America and what he calls “gangsters” in politics during a press conference Tuesday at the Cannes Film Festival.
The Da 5 Bloods director is the first Black president of the Cannes jury (which will hand out the prestigious Palm d’Or award).
As the festival got underway in France, Lee told reporters not much has changed for Black people in America, since his groundbreaking film Do The Right Thing competed at Cannes.
“A couple weeks ago was the 32nd anniversary of the film,” Lee said. “I wrote it in 1988. When you see brother Eric Garner, when you see king George Floyd murdered, lynched. I think of Radio Raheem. And you think and hope that 30 mother f-cking years later, Black people would stop being hunted down like animals.”
[Watch the video below]
Lee also responded to a Georgian journalist’s question about Russian political oppression in her homeland.
“This world is run by gangsters — Agent Orange [Donald Trump], the guy in Brazil [President Jair Bolsonaro] and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin. They’re gangsters, and they’re gonna do what they want to do. They have no morals and no scruples. And we have to speak out against gangsters like that,” Lee said.
The American filmmaker was seated alongside his fellow jurors for the 74th annual Cannes Film Festival — Mati Diop, Mylene Farmer, Kleber Mendonca Filho, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jessica Hausner, Song Kang Ho, Melanie Laurent and Tahar Rahim.
Tonight is the opening night of the festival and Lee has already been rolling in style for the premiere.
The director and producer posted a photo on Instagram of himself in Cannes posing with his bicycle with the caption: “Tonight we hit it. Opening night of the 74 Cannes Film Festival-and dat’s da ‘world stage’ truth, Ruth. Ya-Dig? Sho-nuff.”
Lee and the Cannes jury will have to screen approximately 24 films for the film competition.
Watch some of Lee’s comments below: