US director Spike Lee to lead Cannes Film Festival jury

Many of Lee’s films have been shown at Cannes. (AFP)
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Updated 14 January 2020

US director Spike Lee to lead Cannes Film Festival jury

  • This year’s festival runs May 12-23, and the rest of the jury members will be announced in April

PARIS: Spike Lee will lead the jury of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and festival organizers hope the provocative American director will “shake things up” at the gathering of the world's cinema elite.

Lee said he was “honored to be the first person of the African diaspora” chosen for the prestigious position.

Festival organizer Thierry Fremaux said naming the first black president of the Cannes jury wasn't a political decision, but “a message of universality.” Speaking on France’s RTL radio Tuesday, Fremaux noted the diverse nationalities of jury members and directors whose films are screened at Cannes.

Many of Lee’s films have been shown at Cannes, and his “BlacKkKlansman” won a major prize at Cannes last year. This year’s festival runs May 12-23, and the rest of the jury members will be announced in April.

“When I got the call ... I was shocked, happy, surprised and proud all at the same time,” Lee said in a letter. He said Cannes “changed the trajectory of who I became in world cinema.”

Without explicitly mentioning Lee’s career-long fight against racism or other political views, the festival said in a statement Tuesday: “Lee’s perspective is more valuable than ever. Cannes is a natural homeland and a global sounding board for those who (re)awaken minds and question our stances and fixed ideas.”

Last year’s jury president was Mexican director Alejandro Iñárritu, and the festival’s top prize went to Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite,” nominated this week for best international film at the Oscars.


Spotify unveils top 5 most streamed K-Pop acts in Saudi Arabia, UAE 

Updated 20 October 2020

Spotify unveils top 5 most streamed K-Pop acts in Saudi Arabia, UAE 

DUBAI: To celebrate the monumental impact of K-Pop on fans around the world, Spotify delved into its listening data for some of the genre’s best-known acts. From BTS to ATEEZ, here are the five most streamed K-Pop groups across Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt. 

BTS 

Formed in 2013, BTS has spearheaded the K-Pop drive into the Middle East with catchy, upbeat music. The seven-member South Korean boy band recently notched up the first No.1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart by a South Korean group with their first all-English language single “Dynamite.” 

Blackpink

It’s not just the boys that are driving the K-Pop obsession. Seoul-based girl group Blackpink, who recently released their first Netflix documentary “BLACKPINK: Light Up The Sky” on Oct. 14, are also experiencing a serious surge in streaming. Their latest release “The Album” became the #1 global album on Spotify during the week of launch. 

Twice

Beside Blackpink, Twice have also established themselves in the region. This is a big month for the nine-member girl group: Oct. 20 marks five years since they hit the scene in 2015, and on Oct. 26 they are releasing their second full-length Korean album “Eyes Wide Open.”

Stray Kids 

The fourth most streamed act in the Middle East is Stray Kids. The group consists of eight male members, who are currently preparing for their Nov. 22 virtual concert on Beyond Live, the online performance platform. Their most famous hits are “Grow Up,” “Voices” and “Side Effects.” 

ATEEZ

ATEEZ is one of the most recent K-Pop acts. Formed in October 2018, the eight-member group has already made it to the region’s top five most streamed K-Pop bands. Not just that, but as of September 2020, the group has released five Korean-language EPs, one full-length album and two Japanese albums.