A Word from the Jury

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At the press conference tonight, after announcing the winners of this year’s Film Festival, jury president Robert de Niro reminisced that in the past 12 days with his Jury “sometimes we had different tastes but we really enjoyed ourselves. I made some new friends. When you make a film, the drama has to be happening in front of the screen. Not behind it. That is how it was for us.”

This year’s Jury comprised of Jude Law, Uma Thurman, Olivier Assayas, Martina Gusman, Linn Ullmann, Nansun Shi, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun and Johnnie To.

Cannes Jury eating at the Agora
Robert de Niro and the Cannes Jury lunching at The Agora (Uma Thurman and Jude Law to de Niro’s left)

De Niro explained that while he couldn’t go into all the details for why ‘The Tree of Life’ was selected for the top prize but that “we felt that it was a film that in its scope and its intentions was the best fit for the Palme d’Or. This decision was difficult because the other films were also very good, albeit very different. We had to find a compromise”.

He said that the films which generated the most intense discussion between jury members were ‘Pater’, ‘Sleeping Beauty‘ and ‘Le Havre’; and added that ‘Habemus Papam’ (We Have the Pope) and Pedro Almodavar’s ‘The Skin I Live In’ (La Piel Que Habito) also stimulated discussion.

During the press conference, Jude Law said that “in London, where I live, I make an effort to go to see foreign films. This principle of awards is a good start; it can draw some attention. But another part of the attention needs to be drawn by the media.”

Jury member Olivier Assayas said that Lars von Trier’s ‘Melancholia’ was “one of his best films. We all agreed about the condemnation of his comments made during his press conference. But the film is very well acted, very well written; it’s a great work.”

And Nan Sunshi said that “being a member of the Jury is a very enjoyable duty. It is like a kind of film holiday: you drink champagne and watch films! On set, I have often been very tough with my cast and crew. I think that every year, I am going to leave Hong Kong to be a member of a festival jury.”