Jury • Cannes Film Festival 2018
"It would be a bit dull if we all agreed all of the time"
- CANNES 2018: Cate Blanchett, the president of Cannes’ competition jury, and her jurors spoke about the roles of the jury and women at the festival
A packed theatre this afternoon on the Croisette for the 71st Cannes Film Festival jury press conference. Jury president Cate Blanchett and jurors Kristen Stewart, Léa Seydoux, Ava DuVernay, Khadja Nin, Andrey Zvyagintsev, Robert Guédiguian, Chang Chen and Denis Villeneuve spoke to us about what they consider their roles as jurors to be.
What sort of film merits a Palme d'Or?
Cate Blanchett: A film that has a bit of everything: cinematography, a screenplay, mise-en-scène, etc. A film that will stay in the minds of the jury and the audience well beyond the festival.
Kristen Stewart: There are some imperfect films that are extraordinary. In order to win a Palme d'Or, a film fundamentally needs to move the audience in some way.
Denis Villeneuve: It's a somewhat particular challenge to intuit which films will stand the test of time.
Andrey Zvyagintsev: It's about the film as a whole. We may have nine different opinions, but we have to find a film that brings us all together, that goes straight to the heart and that is an event in art itself.
How do you go about judging the films?
Cate Blanchett: You have to accept that it's an impossible task. We will all definitely have different opinions, but what is extraordinary at Cannes is that all these artists come from different backgrounds, and what interests me in particular is the dialogue that takes place between the artists in the jury and the directors of the films in competition. Cannes is an international cultural platform and a melting pot, and every film in competition deserves to be seen, as sometimes the filmmakers that have been selected almost become the accused without any actual charges against them. All films are on an equal footing for our jury. It’s a difficult task to judge another artist – a somewhat painful challenge – but we approach it with an open mind, regardless of what’s happened in the past and the names of the directors.
What about women in the film industry and Cannes? And what do you think about the fact that there are only three female directors in competition?
Cate Blanchett: Profound changes have to be based on specific actions, not just on numbers, and we must also respect racial diversity. This will not impact our judgment of the films in competition. Of course, you have to have some humour and accept some disharmony. It would be a bit dull if we all agreed all the time. But you need a basis of fairness. Furthermore, Cannes Film Festival is naturally a glamorous event, but being beautiful does not mean you can get away with not being smart at the same time. And finally, the fact that only three women are competing? Cannes is a difficult sport for filmmakers to compete in. You have to be ready. But I would obviously like to see more women taking part in the future.
Will you take into account the political context of the films, or judge them using artistic criteria alone?
This is not a political film festival and the films you are referring to are not political in their own right. We must open up our eyes and our hearts. We’re not dishing out the Nobel Peace Prize here, even if it is somewhat dramatic that two of the directors cannot attend to present their films in person.
(Translated from French)
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