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Cannes Chases Stars, Polanski, Documentaries, Jury Press Conference Addresses Women Directors Issue

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 16, 2012 at 12:19PM

The competition jury at Cannes, as always, gave a press conference on opening day. Part of the jury's function is to provide the fest some badly needed star power--as well as a vacation from their day jobs, Ewan McGregor confessed.
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Cannes Film Festival Jury
Cannes Film Festival Jury

The competition jury at Cannes, as always, gave a press conference on opening day. Part of the jury's function is to provide the fest some badly needed star power--as well as a vacation from their day jobs, Ewan McGregor confessed. They never have much to say at the conference itself, and if president Nanni Moretti ("We Have a Pope") had his way, they wouldn't give a press conference after the awards either. He remembers 20 years ago keeping mum about the entire proceeding--like a conclave.

Andrea Arnold ("Wuthering Heights") deftly answered the hot potato question about the lack of women directors in the competition. "I would hate it if my film got selected because I was a woman," she said. "I would only want it selected for the right reason, not for charity. There were three films last year. It was a good year. It's true the world over that there are not many women film directors. Cannes is a small pocket that represents how things are in the world. That's a great pity. Women have voices and things to say about life and the world that would be good to hear."

Unfortunately, "I'm a democratic president," cracked Moretti, who described the other jurors, including fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier and directors Alexander Payne and Raoul Peck, as "very joyful happy people. We decided to meet often, every two days, to talk about the four films we've seen."

McGregor highlighted the role the festival plays as a platform for emerging artists, and Diane Kruger recalled winning her first award at Cannes, which made her "deeply attached to the festival."

As for what the jurors want from the selection:

This article is related to: Festivals, Festivals, Cannes Film Festival


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.