How the Cannes Film Festival Changed Its Jurors' Lives

READ MORE: The 2015 Cannes Film Festival Winners

The jury for the 68th Cannes Film Festival’s main competition, led this year by Joel and Ethan Coen, likely all didn’t see eye to eye when it came to judging the 19 films vying for the Palme d’Or. But as they revealed to the press following the closing awards ceremony, they did settle on one thing: the experience of being on the jury changed their lives. 

No doubt echoing the sentiments of his fellow jurors, Xavier Dolan put it best when he said, “I have never discussed movies with such depth, with [such] generosity and emotion, with such intelligent company. It has transformed me — not that it will change me an artist, but as a human being reflecting on what movies are. I’m amazed…I feel like a better person.”

“An experience as intense as this changes your life and perspective, and that affects what you do,” added co-president Joel Coen. “This experience certainly changes your perspective as a movie watcher. Having to see this many movies this intensively and going to discuss them with a group like this, changes it in a positive way.”

“I realized how hard it is to make a good movie,” juror Rossy de Palma added. “I learned a lot. I was making love to cinema all day.”

Also on the jury, Sienna Miller said that she could think of several competition titles she’d love to see again. “We have seen some extraordinary films and all feel very enriched by that experience,” she said.

On why they chose to award Jacques Audiard the Palme d’Or for “Dheepan,” instead of other rumored front-runners  — including Grand Prix winner “Son of Saul” — co-president Ethan Coen said that it came down to the fact that “everybody had an enthusiasm for it.” More specifically, he added, “We all thought it was a beautiful movie. Everybody had a high level of excitement [for the film].”

Although “Son of Saul” won the runner-up prize, it clearly left a lasting impact on the jury. Miller, in particular, voiced her support of the film, singling out first-time director Laszlo Nemes. “I had a very strong, deeply emotional response to it,” she said. “I was in that world. I thought it was an extraordinary achievement as a first film. It’s something I really clung to and it shook me very deeply.”

Dolan said the jury held a long moment of silence following their screening of “Son of Saul.” “It’s one of those films that slowly grows into you,” he said.

When asked by an Italian journalist why they didn’t award any of the three Italian films in competition, juror Guillermo del Toro said, “It’s rather artificial to experience [the competition] only in nationalities. We were giving prizes to filmmakers that are starting and actors that are well into their careers. Competing is imperfect, and the results are imperfect, but they represent the best we could do.”

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