The Jury of The 76th Cannes Film Festival: Ducking Political Questions and Freedom of Expression

The Jury of the Cannes Film Festival have will have a hard task of judging 21 films of all calibre and creed in 2023.  On the judging panel this year we see some of the Festival veterans as well as some fresh faces who have never ever stepped their feet to the grounds of palacial Palais des Festivals.

Among them – Ruben Ostlund (president of the jury who has won Palme D’or for quirky and off-beat The Square in 2017 and the Triangle of Sadness last year), Maryam Touzani, Denis Menochet, Rugano Nyoni, Brie Larson, Paul Dano (who’s seen two of his films screened in Cannes), Artiq Rahimi, Damian Szifron, and Julia Ducornau (won Palme D’or in 2021 for Titane).

It’s fascinating to watch jury press conference year after year. It captures the zeitgeist and this year it wasn’t an exception.

The jury of the 76th Cannes Film Festival © Rune Hellestad

The jury of the 76th Cannes Film Festival © Rune Hellestad


Ruben Ostlund wants to encourage freedom of expression

The president of the jury Ruben Ostlund, clearly acutely aware of the issues of freedom of expression that seem to plague creative industries as well as science as of late, is keen to promote freedom of expression among the jury. At the press conference he explained: “I try to create certain kind of atmosphere where people don’t try to be smart all the time. Because people shouldn’t be scared to say what they gut feeling is. If we all try to tope each other intellectually, then we are missing out on something. So, this year I try to have an atmosphere where we can say what we feel and find out formulation during the way. We don’t have to be smart, we just have to follow that first instinct.”

Asked to comment on the saying the consensus kills daring, Ostlund again reiterated that he wants to see the discourse. “I want to encourage people not to go into consensus. In order to try to break this, I will ask all jury members to start deliberation for films. I want everybody not be afraid to say what they think. It’s do boring to have consensus. We are going to have loud debate about all films and warm feelings on the background.”

Strikes in Filmmaking is a good thing

Another thing of the moment that everyone in the developed world is seemingly talking about is the AI and the role it will play in changing the filmmaking industry. When asked about the writers’ strikes that are ongoing in the US, the jury President was very open to the idea: “It’s good that you can go out and strike. So I definitely say ‘Go'”.

Okja director Paul Dano who lives in the US went even further in encouraging screen writers: “My wife is picketing there now with a new-born baby strapped to her. And when I go back, I will join her and will be picketing with her.”

Of course, we at Ikon don’t believe AI is quite capable of being as poetic, abstract, and irrational as the best of writers are but the concern that the AI will be able to produce first draft thus depriving screen writers of writer’s credit and hence of Intellectual property rights and income, is a legitimate one.”

Brie Larson learned her lesson and stays away from political statements

The US actor Brie Larson – who is famously responsible for Netflix removing dislike button due to the backlash against a Marvel movie following Larson’s virtue signalling comments – admitted the call to joining the jury of Cannes Film Festival came in unexpectedly. “I’ve never been here but I hear about Cannes Film Festival so much so I was surprised.”

A known Time’s Up supporter was asked how she feels about Johnny Depp’s film opening Cannes Film Festival. Having learned her lesson, she’s ducked the question. While some journalists were whispering she is not genuine, we think it’s best for the US SJW to stay quiet about her political views or the Festival will risk being boycotted. The Cannes Film Festival should rightly be beyond politics of individual jury members.

This year’s jury was just as ‘overwhelmingly white’ as the press at the junkets of Marvel but we must note, she hasn’t refused the jury spot to give someone of diverse background a chance. The thing about virtue signallers is that they are only prepared to go until their personal interests are at play. 

The awards will be revealed on May 27 at the Closing ceremony.

Subscribe to our newsletter

The jury of the 76th Cannes Film Festival © Rune Hellestad

Ikon London TV is here

Ikon London Media