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Jury • Cannes Film Festival 2016

"We’re not politicians"


- CANNES 2016: The president of the jury of the competition at Cannes, George Miller, and his jury members share their take on the process of evaluation of the works with the press

Jury • Cannes Film Festival 2016
(g-d) Arnaud Desplechin, Kirsten Dunst, Laszlo Nemes, Vanessa Paradis, Donald Sutherland, George Miller, Katayoon Shanabi, Mads Mikkelsen, Valeria Golino (© M. Petit / Festival de Cannes)

Media buzz and a packed press conference were on the cards this afternoon in Cannes for the jury of the competition of the 69th Cannes Film Festival. The president, George Miller, indulged the press at a Q&A session he attended along with the eight members of his jury: Kirsten Dunst, Valeria Golino, Vanessa Paradis, Katayoon Shanabi, László Nemes, Arnaud Desplechin, Mads Mikkelsen and Donald Sutherland (who put on a great show with his well-executed jokes. 

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According to Woody Allen, it’s impossible to compare great works that are beyond compare. What do you think and how are you going to fulfil your role as jury?
George Miller: It’s above all a great opportunity to see new and different films, to watch them and size them up with the other members of the jury who are all film enthusiasts. Cannes is very important for film, as it is a platform for discovering films from very different parts of the world. Of course, it’s difficult to assess the respective merits of films, but the very positive side of it all is the immense joy of being here to celebrate film.

Kirsten Dunst: We need festivals like Cannes to promote films and filmmakers. Without them, where would we be? We would only have blockbusters. 

Valeria Golino: It’s impossible to say that one film is better than another in absolute terms. But awarding a prize is not about judging absolute value, it’s just a question of circumstance. It isn’t easy to compare films, but that’s just how it is. What’s important, is that you reach a well-balanced decision and accept that you’re responsible for that decision, even when there’s disagreement.

Arnaud Desplechin: It’s not about judging, but about getting excited and sharing your enthusiasm with the public.

Mads Mikkelsen: One of the main obstacles is that each of us has our own unique approach to film. Some of us are directors, some of us are actors… What we need to do, is to put ourselves in the shoes of the viewer and watch the films with a fresh pair of eyes.

The films that are awarded at Cannes are often not the same ones that are popular with audiences on the Croisette. Do you take the vox populi into account?
G.M.: Thousands of people can have an opinion on this or that film. Us, we’re a small group, we’ve just met and we’re going to create our own dynamic, discuss and debate. It’s part of the mystery of Cannes. I think it would be wrong to take other people’s points of view into account, whether they’re critics or mere viewers: we’re not politicians! At any rate, we will be very meticulous and very frank.

(Translated from French)

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