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Spike Lee's Cannes fashion cash-in

The US director has raised eyebrows for putting signed film festival merchandise up for sale on his personal website

US director and jury president of the 74th Cannes Film Festival Spike Lee and his wife Tonya Lewis Lee pose for pictures as they arrive for the screening of the film 'The French Dispatch' on 12 July.
US director and jury president of the 74th Cannes Film Festival Spike Lee and his wife Tonya Lewis Lee pose for pictures as they arrive for the screening of the film 'The French Dispatch' on 12 July. (AFP)

US director Spike Lee raised eyebrows at the Cannes Wednesday when he put signed film festival merchandise up for sale on his personal website.

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The legendary Do The Right Thing director is the first black person ever to head the jury at the world's biggest film festival.

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He has cut a dash with his own very personal sense of style on the red carpet, sporting a tricolour beret to mark France's Bastille Day on Wednesday.

Also read| Cannes 2021: Ten titles to look forward to

However, the Brooklyn-based filmmaker was called out for putting signed 1.50-euro festival postcards up for sale on his Instagram page for $100, according to a report in AFP.

Photographer Samina Seyed, who has more than 42,000 followers on the app, said: "Dear Spike, I know that your signature is priceless... but $100 dollars for your name on a postcard?"

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Lee adorns festival posters all over the French Riviera resort, and also features on massive billboards promoting luxury Montblanc pens.

He has also collaborated with Louis Vuitton for his Cannes wardrobe.

His website urges his fans to buy the postcards to "celebrate the first black president of the jury in the festival's 74-year history".

It also says he is the first living person ever to appear on Cannes' official poster.

Lee, 64, has spent much of the festival supporting black and minority artists and attended an early morning motivational breakfast for migrants making a new life in France.

AFP contacted both the festival and Lee for comment but received no immediate comment.

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Wes Anderson, meanwhile, brought together a star-studded cast on 14 July for his love letter to journalism The French Dispatch, a series of vignettes set in the fictional French town of Ennui-sur-Blasé, where life is anything but boring, reports Reuters.

Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Owen Wilson, Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody and Timothee Chalamet are some of the big names in the movie that premiered and received a standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival.

The movie follows an oddball crew of journalists working for the outpost of a Kansas newspaper, who sketch out the fantastic tales they have come across - from the murderous painter who becomes a reference of modern art from the confines of his prison, to the heady milieu of May 1968-style student protests.

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Interspersed with cartoon sequences and teaming with characters and offbeat story lines, The French Dispatch also offers a look at France - depicting police using tear gas to mopey intellectual students.

With references to The New Yorker magazine, Oscar winner Brody said the film was "a love for correspondence and literature and appreciation of culture".

  • FIRST PUBLISHED
    15.07.2021 | 10:50 AM IST

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