Spike Lee’s Cannes 2021 Jury: Song Kang-Ho, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Melanie Laurent, and More

The 2021 Jury will unveil its list of winners Saturday, July 17 during the Cannes closing ceremony.
Song Kang-ho in "Parasite"

The 2021 Cannes Film Festival has announced the jurors who will join Spike Lee in determining the winners of this year’s event. The “BlacKkKlansman” Oscar winner is serving as the 2021 jury president and will be accompanied by director Mati Diop, singer-songwriter Mylène Farmer, actress-director Maggie Gyllenhaal, writer-director Jessica Hausner, actress-director Mélanie Laurent, writer-director Kleber Mendonça Filho, actor Tahar Rahim, and actor Song Kang-ho. The Jury will unveil its list of winners Saturday, July 17 during the Cannes Closing Ceremony.

The majority of the jury has deep connections with the Cannes Film Festival. Mati Diop won the Grand Prix at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival with “Atlantics,” while Jessica Hausner also competed at Cannes 2019 with “Little Joe,” which won star Emily Beecham the Best Actress prize. Tahar Rahim got his breakout in Jacques Audiard’s Grand Prix-winning “A Prophet.” Melanie Laurent starred in Quentin Tarantino’s Palme d’Or contender “Inglourious Basterds,” while Kleber Mendonça Filho recently won the Jury Prize with “Bacurau.”

This year’s Cannes Jury will pick winners from a selection of new films by Wes Anderson, Leos Carax, Mia Hansen-Løve, Julia Ducournau, Paul Verhoeven, and more. To see the full list of movies in competition at Cannes 2021, visit IndieWire’s official lineup page. The 2021 Cannes Film Festival runs July 6-17. Check out the bios for each Cannes juror below, courtesy. of the festival.

Director – France, Senegal
Mati Diop lives and works between Paris and Dakar. Her first feature “Atlantics” (2019) was selected in the official Competition at the Festival de Cannes, where it was awarded the Grand Prix. The film was later shortlisted as one of the 10 best international films at the Oscars. She has also directed several short-films and medium-length films: “Atlantics” (2009), “Snow Canon” (2011), “Big in Vietnam” (2012), “A Thousand Suns” (2013), and “In My Room” (2020), which were also nominated and awarded in many international festivals. In 2016, Mati Diop received the Lincoln Center of New York’s Martin E. Segal – Emerging Artist Award. As an actress, Mati Diop has appeared in “35 Shots of Rum” (2008) directed by Claire Denis, “Simon Killer” (2012) by Antonio Campos, “Fort Buchanan” (2014) by Benjamin Crotty, “Hermia & Helena” (2016) by Matias Piñeiro and “In My Room,” her latest short film.

Singer, songwriter – France
Singer, songwriter, and performing artist Mylène Farmer has become a true icon. She managed to create a unique connection with her audience, which has been following her for over 35 years. She sold 35 million records and had 2,7 million spectators attend her gigantic performances across Europe and Russia. The visual aesthetics and cinematographic quality of her work testify to her love of cinema. She worked with the greatest: Jean-Baptiste Mondino, Peter Lindbergh, Herb Ritts, Abel Ferrara, Luc Besson, Dominique Issermann, Olivier Dahan, Ching Siu-tung, Darius Khondji, Agusti Villaronga. “Libertine”, “Sans contrefaçon”, “California”, “L’Âme-Stram-Gram”, “Pourvu qu’elles soient douces”, all those music videos can be seen as authentic short films. In 2018 she joined the cast of Pascal Laugier’s movie Ghostland. Mylène Farmer continues to stand as a free woman and an extraordinary artist.

Actress, producer, screenwriter, director – United States
Academy Award-nominated actress, producer, screenwriter and director Maggie Gyllenhaal began her career appearing in the cult favorite Donnie Darko (2001). Her breakout roles came soon after in “Secretary” (2002) and “Sherrybaby” (2006), with both performances earning her a Golden Globe nomination. She went on to star in Oliver Stone’s “World Trade Center” (2006) and Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” (2008). In 2009, Gyllenhaal received great acclaim for her role in “Crazy Heart” which earned the actress her first Oscar nomination. She went on to win a Golden Globe for her work in the miniseries “The Honourable Woman” (2014) and she produced and starred in the critically praised series “The Deuce” (2017) for HBO over three seasons. In 2018, she produced, starred and garnered rave reviews in the thriller “The Kindergarten Teacher.” She recently adapted and directed her first feature film, “The Lost Daughter.”

Director, screenwriter, producer – Austria
Born in Vienna, Jessica Hausner studied directing at the Film Academy of Vienna where she made he first short films, “Flora” (1996) and “Inter-View” (1999), both awarded. She then directs two feature films, “Lovely Rita” (2001) and “Hotel “(2004), that premiered at the Festival de Cannes in the Un Certain Regard section. In 2009, “Lourdes” was selected at the Venice Film Festival where it was awarded the FIPRESCI Prize, followed by other prizes, such as the European Film Award for Best Actress for Sylvie Testud. She comes back in Un Certain Regard Competition with “Amour Fou” in 2014. Her fifth feature film and the first in English, “Little Joe,” was selected in Competition at the Festival de Cannes 2019 where Emily Beecham received the Best Actress award. Great Festival success, the film sold in more than 20 countries worldwide.

Actress, screenwriter, director – France
Actress, screenwriter, director, and environmental activist, Mélanie Laurent is the recipient of two César and has established herself in the film industry, starring in over 40 movies. She made her Hollywood debut in “Inglourious Basterds” by Quentin Tarantino selected in Competition at Festival de Cannes (2009). She has since gone on to work with the greatest filmmakers including Mike Mills, Denis Villeneuve, or Angelina Jolie. She made her feature directorial debut with “The Adopted” (2011), following up with the critically acclaimed “Breathe” which premiered at La Semaine de la Critique in 2014. Melanie’s environmental-focused documentary “Tomorrow” became the biggest French documentary release of 2015. In 2021, she will soon direct and star in “Le Bal des folles” adapted from Victoria Mas’ short story.

Director, screenwriter – Brazil
Born in Recife, Brazil, Kleber Mendonça Filho became a film programmer and critic while making award-winning short films. “Neighboring Sounds,” Mendonça’s first feature film, had its world premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2012 and was Brazil’s entry in the race for the Oscars. The New York Times listed it among the ten best films of the year. His second feature film “Aquarius,” starring Sonia Braga, was in competition at the 69th Cannes Film Festival, in 2016. before being nominated for a César and at the Independent Spirit Award. In 2019, “Bacurau,” co-directed by Juliano Dornelles, screened in competition in Cannes was awarded the Jury Prize. Kleber is also a film programmer for Instituto Moreira Salles in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo and the artistic director of Janela Internacional de Cinema do Recife.

Actor – France
After his breakthrough performance in “A Prophet” by Jacques Audiard, which received 9 César and the Festival de Cannes Grand Prix, Tahar Rahim won the César for Best Male Newcomer and for Best Actor. He returned to Cannes in Competition with “The Past” by Asghar Farhadi and “Grand Central” by Rebecca Zlotowski (2013). Following this, he went on to play numerous leading roles both in France and worldwide, including in “The Price of Success” by Teddy Lussi-Modeste, “Samba” by Éric Toledano & Olivier Nakache, “Mary Magdalene” by Garth Davis, as well as in the series “The Looming Tower” alongside Jeff Daniels. In 2021, he achieved international success with “The Serpent” and “The Mauritanian” by Kevin Macdonald, for which he received multiple nominations, including Best Actor at the Golden Globes and at the BAFTAs. He will soon be starring in “Don Juan” by Serge Bozon and “She Came to Me” by Rebecca Miller.

Actor – South Korea
Since his debut 26 years ago, Song Kang-ho has appeared in more than 40 films, including “Joint Security Area” (2000), “Memories of Murder” (2003), “The Host” (2006), “Secret Sunshine” (2007), “Thirst” (2009), “The Attorney” (2013), “Snowpiercer” (2013), “The Age of Shadows” (2016), “A Taxi Driver” (2017), and in the worldwide success “Parasite” (2019). As a lead role in Bong Joon-ho’s masterpiece, the first Korean film to win the Palme d’or at the Festival de Cannes and to earn four Oscars wins, Song Kang-ho played a key part in writing a remarkable page in Korean cinema’s history. Awarded in 2019 at the Locarno Film Festival, he was among the New York Times “25 Greatest Actors of the 21st Century”, in 2020. He has recently finished filming “Emergency Declaration” by director Han Jae-rim, and “Broker” by Hirokazu Kore-eda.

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