The word “joy” has escaped several times from the mouth of filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, commenting on Wednesday morning, his selection in the jury of the next Cannes film Festival.
It is that the arrival of this “pause film” arrives at the point in the life of the film maker, who admits that after the long adventure of Blade Runner 2049, he was in need of feed of the film.
“I’ve been a film buff absent during all these years, and there, when I had finished Blade Runner, I felt an important need to slow down, to go back to writing and also to feed me”, he confided in a telephone interview.
Therefore, he did not hesitate a second to accept the invitation of the general delegate of Cannes, Thierry Frémaux, to join the jury. Composed of nine people, it will be chaired by the actress and producer Cate Blanchett, Australia.
It will be completed by the actresses american Kristen Stewart and French Léa Seydoux, the French director Robert Guédiguian, the chinese actor Chang Chen, the writer american Ava DuVernay, the singer-songwriter burundi Khadja Nin and the Russian director Andrei Zviaguintsev.
“This spring, I have time. I’m writing [for the film Dune], it is possible for me to take 10 days to completely stop my work and find myself in the position that I love the film and see among the best films of the vintage of 2018. I will have the privilege of discovering about twenty films with co-workers, it really is a joy”, he stressed.
“I talk a lot of joy, it is because it is really the emotion main which animates me in speaking of it. It’s like someone who speaks from his vacation to come, it is really like that as I see it.”
The next edition of the Cannes film Festival will be the first since the scandal of sexual misconduct that hit the producer Harvey Weinstein and the advent of the movement #moiaussi. Denis Villeneuve also believes that it is without a doubt “not a chance”, if this year the jury is mostly female, with five women and four men.
It shows, however, tend to agree with Thierry Frémaux, who has had to defend in a press conference last week, the refusal of the Cannes film Festival to impose quotas, to ensure that the selection official joint.
The filmmaker strongly believes that there will be a day in Cannes as many of the directors as directors, but believes that the French festival is a reflection of society, and that this is not their role to reinvent it.
“It is necessary that society changes. It is necessary that the world of cinema gives more room for women. It is necessary that there is an opening. Now, I think that in a festival like this, this is not a service to anyone that there are quotas.
“I think that the place of women in the cinema will go on increasing, and it is important that one day there is a tie. But it is a process that will take time, it’s not going to take three months. It is one of the basic movements, and it will take some time, but I am confident that it will happen.”
Commenting on the decision of the organizers of the festival to exclude Netflix movies in the official selection, Denis Villeneuve points out that this is a complicated topic which requires some nuances.
The festival has announced this year that any film wishing to compete for the Palme d’or must be presented in cinemas in france. This decision excludes the works of the platforms for viewing online which do not offer their works on the Internet.
Ensuring that it is not against Netflix, Denis Villeneuve believes in spite of all that the online platforms need to respect the culture of the countries where they wish to present their films.
“In France, the film on the big screen, it is sacred, it is important. Netflix should respect France, in this regard. So I think the Cannes festival, from its position, being a French festival, respecting this desire of the country to keep the movies on the big screen, yes, I think they have reason to do so. Netflix should adapt to France, not the opposite”, he believes.
“The screens are in the process of losing the war and it remains the film festivals, which are the last major bastions, defenders of a certain vision of cinema, [the fact] that the film must be seen on the big screen.”
The filmmaker is saddened even more of what he calls “disengagement” of the studios, who do not fight more for the films to be shown in theatres.
He regrets, for example, that person on the side of the studios have insisted that the next film from Alfonso Cuaron, Roma, bought by Netflix, can be seen on the big screen. “There’s something happening. There are films like the latest film from Alex Garland, Annihilation, which will not be seen on the big screens around the world because Paramount has decided not to put it… there is a disengagement of the studios in the face of certain forms of cinema, and that, to me, it scares me.”
The 71st edition of the Festival de Cannes will open on may 8 next.