Cannes jury president Iñárritu smooths over Netflix debate, emphasises diversity at inaugural press conferenc
The funny thing about the Cannes jury is that the relative pedigree of the talent – particularly that of the president – often has little to no bearing on which films are ultimately rewarded. George Miller and the Coen brothers are but two recent examples of canon-worthy filmmakers rewarding the opposite of canon-worthy films. (Remember Dheepan, guys?) While it was Tim Burton, of all people, who finally gave the Palme d’Or to Thailand’s Apichatpong Weerasethakul in 2010.
Let’s just say that one expects great things from a jury led by Alejandro González Iñárritu, who, alongside Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuarón, graduated from Mexican cinema to become an Oscar power player. At the press conference, it was noted that he is the first Latin American jury president, something he called a “huge honour”. He mostly spoke humbly about the approach the jury would take, though he occasionally threw out some typically out-there quotes. On analysing the films: “I will not call it judgement. I don’t like to judge films. I like to be impregnated by them.” On watching films: “I’m a true believer to watch is not to see a film. To watch is something. To see is another thing. To see is to not to experience.” (Though admittedly, he took a more diplomatic approach to the hot-button issues of the cinema landscape, i.e. Netflix and watching films on tablets and laptops, saying there were “infinite forms of expression” and that one form should not cancel the other.)
The other members of the jury included Elle Fanning, who, at 21 years old, spoke of “[representing] a young voice … to be a young audience member, to view the movies from those eyes”. There was also Senegalese actress and filmmaker Maimouna N’Diaye, Alice Rohrwacher (whose Happy as Lazarro was part of last year’s line-up), and the great Kelly Reichardt, whose gestating project First Cow was initially tipped as a possibility for this year’s competition. The question was asked, inevitably, about gender disparity, and Reichardt spoke of “looking forward to a time where we don’t have to [call attention to] ‘the women directors’” – also noting that “It’s the first time [I’m] not trying to get out of jury duty.”
Elsewhere on the panel included Cannes regulars Yorgos Lanthimos, Paweł Pawlikowski and Robin Campillo, and comic book artist and director Enki Bilal. The uniting sentiment was excitement at the prospect of working and learning from each other.
For further information about the event visit the Cannes Film Festival website here.