Cannes Jury: One Happy Family... For Now

Members of the Cannes jury arrive to opening night Members of the Cannes jury arrive to opening night

A Cannes Film Festival without prizes?

It’s a possibility raised Wednesday — albeit jokingly — by Stephen Frears, president of the award-giving jury.

“Maybe we’ll give no prizes,” said the British director of “The Queen,” “High Fidelity” and “Dirty Pretty Things.” “We will refuse to sit in judgment.”

Frears, who has brought several films to Cannes but never won the top prize, offered another motive for holding back the Palme d’Or — “I’m very, very jealous.”

“I’m sure I’ll get over it,” he said.

The nine jurors (pictured above are jury members Toni Collette, Maria de Medeiros, president of the Jury Stephen Frears, Sarah Polley and Maggie Cheung), who also include Nobel Prize-winning Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk and actresses Maggie Cheung and Toni Collette, will watch, argue and then decide who will take home the trophies when the 60th Cannes festival wraps up May 27.

Contenders for the coveted Palme d’Or include Wong Kar-wai’s English-language debut, “My Blueberry Nights”; Quentin Tarantino’s “Death Proof”; and the Coen brothers’ “No Country for Old Men.”

On Wednesday, the festival’s first day, the jury members told a news conference they were all working in harmony — at least for now.

“I will be very curious to see how we all end up — we start off like this and maybe terrible things will start to come out,” said Frears. “So far, so good.”

The other jurors are French actor-director Michel Piccoli, Mauritanian director Abderrahmane Sissako, Canadian actor-director Sarah Polley, Portuguese actress Maria de Medeiros and Italian director Marco Bellocchio.

Jurors said they were undaunted by having to choose a winner from among 22 films in official competition — although several professed a reluctance to judge fellow film artists.

“Film isn’t a competitive sport,” Polley said.

“I think it’s more about appreciation than judgment,” added Collette.

Novelist Pamuk put the jurors’ job more poetically. “It’s just going to movies with a child’s enthusiasm and then saying to daddy, `This is the best one, this is the one I like,”’ he said. “That’s why it’s so much fun.”

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