Cannes 2021 Poster

Cannes 2021 – Jury Duty: A French perfumed Spike Lee joint

As ever, the Cannes jury is an ideal cast to spend a seaside cinema holiday with. For 2021, like the competition selection itself, this President Spike Lee joint has a little more French perfume than usual. C’est normal, given the travel circumstances. And, likewise, most of the team are Cannes alumni/family. 

Along with Spike Lee, there is Senegalese-French Matti Diop who took the Grand Prix prize in 2018 for the somewhat supernatural Atlantics, Austrian Jessica Hausner, whose Little Joe got best actress the same year, and also in the 2019 crop, Brazilian Kleber Mendonca Filho whose wonderfully strange Bacurau collected the Jury Prize. 

Tahar Rahim is also on jury duty. He burst into fame in Cannes in Jacques Audiard’s compelling prison drama A Prophet that took the Grand Prix in 2009, before garnering a slew of other prizes. He’ll get to hook up with Jodie Foster who will be getting an Honorary Palme d’Or as she opens proceedings on July 6th. A graduate of the Lycée Française in LA, she’ll accept her award in perfect French. Foster and Rahim co-star in the new Guantanamo legal drama, Kevin McDonald’s The Mauritanian.She’s a lawyer fighting the system and he’s back where he started out in Cannes, in jail. 

Also on the jury are the always beguiling Maggie Gylenhall, French actress/environment activist Melanie Laurent and the perfectly deadpan Song Kang-ho from Parasite

Rounding off the female-majority jury, is the best known in France, but least known among film buffs; she’s Canadian born Mylène Farmer, a multi-platinum French pop icon, celebrated for her gothic mystique and cinematic music videos. 

They’re the ones who have to come up with the answers to questions like: Will music enhance Leos Carax’s already weirdly wonderful world in Annette? – Will too much be enough in Verhoeven’s Benedetta? – With Flag Day, can Sean Penn get back his lost face that went missing in Canes in 2016 – Will the Swedish maestro’s magic rub off on the already masterful Mia HANSEN-LØVE with Bergman Island – After his mitigated forays into French and Spanish, has Asghar Farhadi got his Persian mojo back with Shiraz-set A Hero? – Is it possible to invent an adequate epigrammatic enquiry about Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, set in the fictional French city of Ennui-sur-Blasé!!? 

These are just six questions about the 24 films that will face the Jury of nine…