No, you’re not experiencing déjà vu. If the news that the Cannes Film Festival has set Spike Lee as their jury president seems familiar, that’s because it is.
Last January, the festival announced that Lee would head up the jury at their 73rd fest, making him the first person of the African diaspora to ever be the first jury president at Cannes. Of course, last year’s festival never ended up taking place, although Lee and Cannes have always remained clear that they still wanted him to preside over their next fest, whenever it were to happen.
That future has now come to fruition, as Lee will take his seat for the 74th edition of the prestigious festival, set to run from July 6-17 this summer. If all goes according to plan, the Official Selection for this year’s festival and the rest of the jury will be announced in early June.
The appointment of Lee will bring him back to a festival that has screened seven of his films over his storied career, starting with his debut feature She’s Gotta Have It. His most recent Cannes showing was at the 2018 festival for BlacKkKlansman.
Festival president Pierre Lescure had this to say about Lee: “Throughout the months of uncertainty we’ve just been through, Spike Lee has never stopped encouraging us. This support is finally coming to fruition and we could not have hoped for a more powerful personality to chart our troubled times.”
Thierry Frémaux, Cannes’ general delegate, added his own sentiments, saying, “His [Lee’s] enthusiasm and passion for cinema has given us a huge boost of energy to prepare the great festival that everybody has been waiting for. We simply can’t wait!”
Time will tell whether or not the festival can happen as they’re planning on right now, or whether it will need to be delayed (or cancelled altogether) again. For the moment, though, it looks like Cannes is pushing all steam ahead to try and make that July return a reality.