Festival de Cannes, The Jury’s Turn

Festival de CannesThe Daily Jury Press Conference

CANNES, (RUSHPRNEWS) 05/26/2008- For the fourth time in the history of the Cannes Festival, the Jury had an opportunity to enlarge upon its award decisions. At a press conference, Jury President Stephen Frears and Jurors Maggie Cheung, Maria De Medeiros, Abderrahmane Sissako, Orhan Pamuk, Toni Collette, Michel Piccoli, Marco Bellocchio, and Sarah Polley fielded questions from journalists. Highlights follow. Orhan Pamuk on the Palme d’Or: “The Romanian film that got the Palme d’Or is a great work. The Romanian people can be proud of this director. It was a great pleasure to watch every second of the film. There’s a lot in it, in terms of both structure and meaning. We were quite satisfied; there wasn’t much debate about awarding him this Palme. (…) Lastly, I’d like to say that I am not in the filmmaking profession; I’m a writer. I wanted to express my thanks to all these people who are professional filmmakers, who helped me feel comfortable. (…) The only criterion I had in mind to make these choices was to listen to my own conscience and trust in my own tastes. We all expressed our opinions, each juror in turn, on all the films, with a great sense of democracy, and it was marvelous. We discussed each of the films thoroughly and we reached the best decisions possible. Congratulations to Romania for this film.

On the decision-making process :
Michel Piccoli: “We didn’t unanimously agree. It’s impossible for nine people to think the same thing about something so delicate, so important to the person presenting his film. Fortunately. Otherwise, we’d have been oppressed by a dictatorial Jury president. It was quite the opposite. We all listened to each other a great deal. Each was free to defend the ideas he or she cherished, the ideas that were essential to him or her.”
Marco Bellocchio: “Everyone has ideas about life, about beauty, about politics, about an ideology… A Jury like ours must work towards mutual understanding and find a compromise. It was a wonderful experience. The best part of the festival is seeing films from all over the world. At the time of judging and debating, it’s work. But we also found a way to amuse each other and make friends.”
On one’s duties as Juror:
Abderrahmane Sissako: “Being a Juror is not an easy job. Before this Festival, we didn’t know each other. I believe the personality of the Jury President matters a lot. Stephen put us all at ease on the first day. We felt comfortable; we felt free. We didn’t have the feeling that there were specialists. We were all viewers in love with film, listening to each other and exchanging ideas. The choices were easy. It was harmonious, actually.”
Michel Piccoli: “It was extremely difficult to be a Juror, extremely intimidating. How could one dare to give prizes to such and such a person? Fortunately, I was not alone. But I listened to the others, and they gave me advice; they enlightened me about things I hadn’t thought of. Of course, I had my own opinions, and it was entirely consensual. I’m very happy about the choices I really fought for. I won; not every time, but I won enough times.”

On the Jury experience:
Maria De Medeiros: “I don’t think we had any previous criteria but since I’m talking into the mike, I would like to thank our President Stephen Frears; he was a wonderful president, and all the members of the Jury. It’s probably the greatest jury I’ve been part of. It was very interesting. Each of our meetings was a real open discussion on each film and it was fascinating to just follow each member’s ideas, so it was really a fantastic experience. Of course, we had a lot of wonderful films to choose from and that’s difficult, but we had a wonderful time.”
Sarah Polley : “I feel that I lived more in the past ten or eleven days than I have in my whole life. Everyone seemed to approach the discussions with immense curiosity and engagement and I’ve never seen a group of people listen to each other so carefully.”
Stephen Frears: “There are no formal rules. It was very easy-going, it seemed to me. These people up here are very mutinous and wouldn’t do what I told them. We didn’t watch the films together, sometimes, but purely by coincidence. We met last Sunday, we met on Thursday and we met last night and again today.”
Toni Collette on the 60th Anniversary Award: “We wanted to give the prize to someone whose film we admired in this particular Festival but whose body of work was also incredible and we were all in agreement about Gus.”

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