Now that the awards have been handed out and Cannes has officially come to a close, the Competition jury has made it official with a press conference. Led by Pedro Almodóvar, the rest of the jurors — Maren Ade, Fan Bingbing, Park Chan-wook, Jessica Chastain, Agnès Jaoui, Will Smith, Paolo Sorrentino and Gabriel Yared — assembled in front of journalists the world over to discuss their choices and their process.
“Did supreme harmony reign?” they were asked at the beginning. “Was it a love fest, or was blood splattered on the walls and carpets?” Smith responded first, joking in a way that should surprise few: “It was pretty smooth and easy. I was trying to get Pedro to stop offering me sexual favors for my vote, but it was easy.”
“There was no blood,” said Almodóvar. “We all respected each other very much. That doesn’t mean we were thinking the same thing about all the films…we always respected the other members of the jury.” Asked about “BPM (Beats Per Minute),” which won the Grand Prix and tells of French AIDS activists’ efforts in the 1990s, the filmmaker became teary-eyed as he praised the film.
Smith pointed to “Jupiter’s Moon” as a personal favorite, joking that “sometimes democracy sucks” because his favorite left the ceremony empty-handed.
Following Sofia Coppola’s win for Best Director — only the second time a woman had won the prize — the female jurors were asked about the award’s significance and the state of female filmmakers in general. “I do believe that if you have female storytelling, you also have more authentic female characters,” said Chastain. “The one thing I really took away from this experience is how the world views women.”
She called this “disturbing” and expressed her desire to see more women onscreen that resemble the ones she knows in real life — women with their own agency and viewpoints. Jaoui chimed in next, citing Almodóvar as one of the few directors whose movies pass the Bechdel test and pointing to the overall lack of films that pass it as a problem. Ade made one thing clear: “We didn’t give these awards to women because they are women.
Bingbing expressed her happiness to award Best Director to Coppola, adding that she wants to “encourage female filmmakers” as they continue their efforts.
“A couple black folks won’t hurt next year either,” Smith added. “We’ll talk about that another time.”