Meet the Jury/A Palme d'Or 20

Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE May 18, 2007

No sooner does the Festival de Cannes open than attendees start buzzing about the potential award-winners. Last year, Pedro Almodovar’s ‘Volver,’ which screened early in the festival became the instant odds on favorite to win the top prize, the Palme d’Or, which it famously lost to Ken Loach’s ‘The Wind That Shakes The Barley.’ So, it’s not surprise that the nine Cannes jurors were up for a grilling when they met the press Wednesday afternoon prior to beginning their service at the festival. Among the burning questions was whether actress Maggie Cheung will be able to remain impartial despite her close friendship with opening night director Wong Kar Wai, whom she has worked with many times. She noted that she won’t let her personal fondness for the filmmaker affect her vote, noting, ‘I have been judged by many friends (on juries) before.’

[ Editor’s Note: This article originally published in indieWIRE May 17, 2007.]

"Cheung sat on stage laughing and smiling cordially along with actress Toni Collette, director and actress Maria de Medeiros, director and actress Sarah Polley, director Marco Bellocchio, writer Orhan Pamuk, director and actor Michel Piccoli, director Abderramane Sissako and filmmaker Stephen Frears, serving as jury president.

‘Film isn’t a competitive sport and I don’t think any of us think that,’ noted Sarah Polley, when asked how the group will make its choice and what they did to prepare. ‘But, I think it wil be great to discuss (the films). ‘I don’t know if it is possible to judge art,’ said Maria de Medeiros, ‘But it will be interesting.’ While Toni Collette added later, ‘I don’t know how one can prepare, it’s a matter of being in the moment and being affected, just as you do for any film. Being engaged.’

Author Orhan Pamuk, recent winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, summed it up suitably, saying that the jurors have been preparing their whole lives for such an experience and they simply need to rely on their own judgement. And he recommended, ‘Going into a movie with the child’s enthusiasm and then saying to daddy, ‘This is the one I like, this is the one’.’

‘The truth is that I will be curious to see how we all end up, joked Frears about the warmth among the jurors on stage, ‘maybe terrible things will start to come out, you know, so far so good.’"

A Palme d’Or 20

1. "The Wind That Shakes the Barley," Ken Loach, 2006
2. "The Child," Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2005
3. "Fahrenheit 9/11," Michael Moore, 2004
4. "Elephant," Gus Van Sant, 2003
5. "The Pianist," Roman Polanski, 2002
6. "The Sn’s Room," Nanni Moretti, 2001
7. "Dancer in the Dark," Lars von Trier, 2000
8. "Rosetta," Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 1999
9. "Eternity and a Day," Theo Angelopoulos, 1998
10. "The Eel," Shohei Imamura, 1997
11. "Taste of Cherry," Abbas Kiarostami, 1997
12. "Secrets & Lies," Mike Leigh, 1996
13. "Underground," Emir Kustrica, 1995
14. "Pulp Fiction," Quentin Tarantino, 1994
15. "The Piano," Jane Campion, 1993
16. "Farewell My Concubine," Chen Kaige, 1993
17. "Best Intentions," Bille August, 1992
18. "Barton Fink," Joel and Ethan Coen, 1991
19. "Wild at Heart," David Lynch, 1990
20. "sex, lies, and videotape," Steven Soderbergh, 1989

(Reprinted with permission, copyright Eugene Hernandez, indieWIRE 2007.)