x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Spielberg brings Hollywood eye to Cannes Croisette

Steven Spielberg, who heads the jury at this week's Cannes, says he'll be strictly 'democratic'.

Steven Spielberg is heading the Cannes jury this year. John Shearer / Invision / AP
Steven Spielberg is heading the Cannes jury this year. John Shearer / Invision / AP

Steven Spielberg will bring a Holly-wood veteran’s eye to the more art-house Cannes Film Festival next week – but he insists he has no preconceptions and will be a strictly “democratic” jury head.

The legendary filmmaker, who first came to Cannes for the premiere of ET in 1982, says he is looking forward to being on the Croisette, even if he is a little “rusty”, not having served on a festival jury for more than 25 years.

He chairs a panel that also includes Nicole Kidman and Ang Lee to pick who wins the Palme d’Or at the May 15-26 festival.

The prospect of watching and critically assessing 19 films in 12 days might be daunting to some, but Spielberg is unfazed.

“Not me. Every weekend I watch between four and six movies. So two films per day in Cannes, I’m rather looking forward to it,” Spielberg said in an interview with the French arts magazine Telerama.

Asked if he would reward films with popular potential, or “more difficult” works, he replied: “I believe that, before they are shown, all films are equal. Whether they are small or big, they are a sum of the personal visions and collaborative efforts. Each time the filmmaker’s intentions are the same, whether it is Christopher Nolan or Michael Haneke: to express what he has inside,” he said, referring to the blockbuster Dark Knight -director and Haneke, whose understated Amour won last year at Cannes.

The possibility of a cultural clash between Spielberg’s Hollywood sensibility and those of his fellow jurors has not gone unnoticed. The jury also includes the Indian actress Vidya Balan, the Japanese director Naomi Kawase, the Scottish filmmaker Lynne Ramsay, the French actor Daniel Auteuil, the Romanian director Cristian Mungiu and the Austrian actor Christoph Waltz.

Spielberg has been tight-lipped about what kind of jury chairman he will be.

“Democratic!” he said, when asked by Telerama. “But give me a bit of time. I haven’t been on a jury since the Avoriaz festival in 1986, when we gave the prize to Carrie, by Brian De Palma. I’m a little rusty.” *AFP

artslife@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @LifeNationalUAE

And follow us on Facebook for discussions, entertainment, reviews, wellness and news.