Film’s most fashionable festival came to a close Saturday night with Brooklyn native Spike Lee bringing home the second-place prize.
Lee’s riotous “BlacKkKlansman,” about an African-American police officer who successfully infiltrates a local Ku Klux Klan chapter, was awarded the Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
“I take this on the behalf of the People’s Republic of Brooklyn, New York,” Lee said as he accepted the coveted award.
Lee’s movie tells the true-ish story of Det. Ron Stallworth, the first black cop in Colorado Springs, Colo., and his infiltration of the KKK.
The film, which stars Denzel Washington’s son John David Washington, along with help from Adam Driver and Laura Harrier, was produced by Jordan Peele, fresh off his success with “Get Out.” It is loosely based on Stallworth’s autobiography.
Topher Grace appears as a smarmy former Klan grand wizard David Duke.
The Cannes jury gave the film its second-highest honor at the festival, with jury president Cate Blanchett saying the movie is “quintessentially about an American crisis.”
“Obviously, this is an international film festival,” Blanchett said at a press conference following the ceremony. “We talked a lot about when a film transcends the limitations of its culture. Spike has made a film that is quintessentially about an American crisis and yet all of us felt connected to it. That, we felt, really elevated its importance even more.”
Lee, 61, connects the film, set in the early 1970s, to today with real footage from last year’s violent white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Va.
The movie received a standing ovation from the black tie-clad crowd at the posh festival during its debut earlier in the week.
It was Lee’s first competition entry at Cannes since “Jungle Fever” in 1991.
Beating “BlacKkKlansman” for the top spot at the 71st edition of the French Riviera extravaganza was Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters.”
The film, an understated story of a small-time thief who takes an abused young girl home to his family, won the top Palme d’Or award.