Yesterday, when the Cannes Film Festival lineup was announced, many people began salivating at the volume of auteurs — Tarantino, Almodovar, von Trier, Lee, Haneke, Resnais, Campion, Loach, Tsai, Lou, Noe, To, Bellocchio, Gondry, Gilliam, Raimi, Bong, Pen-ek, I could keep going a lot longer but you skipped ahead several lines ago already — converging in one fest (that no critic can afford to attend anymore). But nobody seems to have noticed that the competition features the most interesting jury makeup in quite some time. Let’s take a look at the topline…
-Jury President Isabelle Huppert, actress, sophisticated middle-aged French lady, star of many a thinking cinephile’s dom/sub fantasies (not least David O. Russell’s)
-Asia Argento, actress, filmmaker, vampire, star of many a thinking cinephile’s dom/sub fantasies (not least Olivier Assayas’) (or Abel Ferrara’s) (or Catherine Breillat’s)
-Shu Qi, porn star turned object of contemplation in rapturous Hou Hsiao-hisen movies she professes not to understand, L Magazine Film Editor Mark Asch’s desktop wallpaper [pictured])
-Robin Wright Penn, actress, Hollywood wife, princess buttercup
Plus: Brit-Asian author and screenwriter Hanif Kureishi, and three, count ‘em three, which seems awfully low but whatever, international auteurs: underrated Korean writer-director Lee Chang-dong; Turkey’s breathtaking stylist and emotional brutalist Nuri Bilge Ceylan; and unfashionably earnest Brooklyn-bred classicist James Gray. (Hot damn do the French love them some James Gray.)
So, the new Almodovar wins, right? Also, wow, I haven’t wanted to be a fly on the wall in the Cannes jury deliberation room this badly since 1987.