Miller leads his jury into the Cannes fray

Pledge to view films without any baggage.

by Richard Mowe

Mads Mikkelsen and Jury head George Miller, who said jury is like being in film school all over again.
Mads Mikkelsen and Jury head George Miller, who said jury is like being in film school all over again. Photo: Richard Mowe
The Cannes Film Festival jury, headed by Mad Max director George Miller, and including Valeria Golino, Donald Sutherland, Katayoon Shahabi, Arnaud Desplechin, Mads Mikkelsen, Kirsten Dunst, Vanessa Paradis and Laszlo Nemes, lined up yesterday (May 11) to be probed by the press about the style of their decision-making – and predictably avoided making any grand statements and for the most part avoid controversy.

Danish actor Mikkelsen did say he was open to “bribes”. That was a joke, although more seriously he addressed the question of whether he might show favouritism to fellow Dane Nicolas Windig Refn, whose The Neon Demon is in the official Competition.

"I thought I might get a phone call saying I couldn’t be on the jury. I love Nicolas, I love his films ... but I will view [Neon Demon] like any other,” he assured the assembled throng.

Miller likened the privileged experience to being in some kind of “film school or film camp” where films could be viewed without any preconceptions.

Juror Vanessa Paradis.
Juror Vanessa Paradis. Photo: Richard Mowe
Meanwhile, Oscar-winning Son Of Saul director Nemes was “stunned” to receive the call to take part and felt rather “humbled” given that his film career only started in earnest after the film was premiered in Cannes last year.

His take on the subject was: “I wondered whether it made sense after a first feature to be in the prestigious jury. But I think putting my film in competition was a statement saying that cinema should be open to new ways, that pioneering never stops in cinemas. Maybe this is a continuation of that logic."

And with that thought in mind the jury departed for ten days of sitting in darkened rooms until they emerge with the victors at the closing ceremony on May 22.

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