Gautaman Bhaskaran
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Cannes 2006: First ever Chinese jury president

Chinese Director Wong Kar Wai will head the main jury of the 59th Cannes International Film Festival, which will be held between May 17 and 28 2006.

This is the first ever time that a Chinese will preside over the Cannes jury.

The Festival, held every May in the glorious French Riviera, first presented Wong Kar Wai in 1989, and his movie “As Tears Go By” was a hit. In 1997, his work, “Happy Together” featured in the Festival’s most prestigious slot, Official Competition. That summer, he went home with the Best Director’s Award.

Wong Kar Wai

Wong Kar Wai then became a regular at Cannes: his 2000 “In the Mood for Love”, also in Competition, and his 2004 “2046”, again a Competition entry, were hailed by critics and others. Some termed his “2046” as a “sublime exploration of inner time”.

I remember the President of the Cannes International Film Festival, Gilles Jacob, telling me once that he simply loved to watch a Wong Kar Wai movie. “Never miss it for anything in the world”, he advised me.

This January 2006, soon after the jury president announcement in Paris, Jacob said: "We are particularly delighted to have Wong Kar Wai. His films immediately strike us by their plastic splendour and nostalgic amorous emotion in the great romantic tradition."

Accepting the honour, Wong Kar Wai declared: "I am so happy that Gilles Jacob, Thierry Frémaux (Festival’s Artistic Director) and their team have invited me to serve as jury president for the 2006 Cannes International Film Festival. Each city has its own language. In Cannes, it is the language of dreams. Yet it is difficult to judge one's dream much less compare it to another. There is an old Chinese saying: One can never expect the wind, but should always keep one's window open. Along with my fellow jurors, I look forward to sharing the dreams created by some of the most gifted talents in contemporary cinema. And our goal will be to keep our windows open as wide as possible."

Last year, India’s Nandita Das was part of the jury, headed by Emir Kusturica from Sarajevo.


Catherine Demier

This year, the Cannes International Film Festival will have a new General Manager, Catherine Demier. She replaces Veronique Cayla, who became the General Manager of the Centre National de la Cinematographie.


(This story was posted on this website on January 18 2006)

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