Like most of his predecessors on the Cannes Film Festival jury, this year’s president, American movie director, Tim Burton, told a crowded media conference this afternoon that he and the nine other members of his jury will look at the competing films with openness and compassion. There was no question of watching out for a work that was sensitive politically or in any other way. This is how we can savour the beauty of cinema.
Burton vastly differed from what an earlier president had said American actor, Sean Penn, whose middle name can well have been ‘controversy’ had said that his jury would look out for a politically compelling work or something unconventional. “We would like to do just the opposite of what the Oscars do”, he quipped in 2008.
Burton, whose latest film, “Alice in Wonderland”, screened recently in India, felt that it was imperative to promote all kinds of cinema, a line that the Festival Director, Thierry Fremaux, has also been following for some years now in the choice of Cannes entries.
Burton, who had earlier served on the Cannes jury under the French actress, Isabelle Adjani, will head a 10-member panel that includes India’s Shekar Kapur and British actress Kate Beckinsale.
At the beginning of the conference, Kapur was introduced as “Royalty”, because of his movies on Elizabeth. His 1994 “Bandit Queen” was shown at Cannes, and the Indian actor-director is still well known here largely because of that.
The jury came in for early criticism when one of the journalists wanted to know why it was so overwhelmingly Euro-American. Kapur, the questioner, pointed out has now been making cinema outside India, mostly in Europe. So, he was more European than Indian.
As the Festival gets under way, there could be more questions on the composition of the jury, but as Burton added that he and the others were ready to be judged themselves.