Lindon restores his virginity in Cannes

Jury president on judging, respect, and being a child again

by Richard Mowe

Jury duty in Cannes for President Vincent Lindon and Rebecca Hall
Jury duty in Cannes for President Vincent Lindon and Rebecca Hall Photo: Richard Mowe
The Vincent Lindon we see before as president of the Cannes Film Festival jury who will bestow the coveted Palme d’Or in 15 days time at the closing ceremony, is not the same as the Vincent Lindon at home in Paris.

Before heading down the Riviera he “tried to empty my brain and come to the festival with a virgin head. I like the idea of being a child again and watching a film as I used to do as youngster: I want to wait for the emotions to take over rather than trying to recall what a certain director or actor had done before.”

He felt passionately that cinema can change our view of who we are. "Certain films are in touch with the world as it is while others take a different path and leave social subjects to one side. But I’ve always had respect for people whose lives are painful,” he said.

Lindon was appearing alongside his fellow jurors, actress-director Rebecca Hall (The Night House), Danish-born Bollywood star Deepika Padukone (Chennai Express), Sweden’s Noomi Rapace (Lamb) and Italian actress-director Jasmine Trinca (The Gunman), as well as directors Asghar Farhadi (A Hero), Ladj Ly (Les Misérables), Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter) and Joachim Trier (The Worst Person in the World).

Jasmine Trinca: 'I have been lucky because I grew up with the festival and I love the spirit and the people'
Jasmine Trinca: 'I have been lucky because I grew up with the festival and I love the spirit and the people' Photo: Richard Mowe
Clearly as a group they’ve already bonded with Rapace, capturing the mood by gushing: “I have been admiring these people for such a long time and now I am among them all … among my heroes. We have two weeks of 21 films and I could not image that this would ever happen. The power of films is magical. They impact on our lives when we were growing up in different countries. Films are the essence of emotional oxygen. Films can travel and communicate and at this time films are more important than ever.”

Hall confessed that she didn’t care for the word “judge” but admitted it was a huge responsibility. It is also a creative responsibility and we will learn a lot by engaging in this particular way. I think the jury was picked well. As for gender parity in the industry it is a work in progress not just in Cannes. And it needs to be addressed at a grassroots level as well. A lot of that has to be about education and opening doors. We have made progress but it is not over.”

Trinca whose career took off in Cannes with Nanni Moretti’s The Son’s Room some 21 years ago still recalls the magic of sharing a film in the surrounds of the huge Salle Lumière cinema. “I have been lucky because I grew up with the Festival and I love the spirit and the people.”

Trier also has history with Cannes reaching back to his grandfather (a complete unknown) whose film The Hunt was presented in Cannes. “I am glad we are group and not along in making these decisions,” said Trier who had previous Cannes jury experience as part of Critics’ Week.

Nichols was a young intern when he worked in Cannes at the American Pavilion in 2000. His mother had bought him a dinner jacket and he recalls his wide-eyed enthusiasm looking down on the fray from his seat high up the theatre.

“Films are part of the human spectrum of emotion. We will not land on every topic that humanity struggles with but they will be part of the broader conversation we will all have,” he said.

His fellow jurors and Mr President all appeared to concur.

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