Cannes jury takes expansive approach

Tim Burton wants team to leave preconceptions at the door

CANNES -- Forget "judgment," this year's watchword for the Festival de Cannes jury is "generosity."

Jury president Tim Burton told the global press he hopes to recapture the element of surprise he first felt as a child watching movies, adding that he has no desire to follow 2008 jury president Sean Penn's stated aim of turning his jury members' heads toward political works.

"We want to view every film and discuss how they touch us both intellectually and emotionally, and bring our generosity as filmmakers and those in the world of film to it," Burton said.

He added that there was everything to be gained from having an open approach. "Hopefully we all have no preconceptions going in," he said.

And forget about gender politics in a year where questions hang over the lack of a female presence in the Competition lineup.

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Burton deftly deflected any discussion of the topic while pointing to the fact that, for most of his career, a large number of studio execs with green-lighting power have been female.

Fellow jury member Kate Beckinsale, who alongside Giovanna Mezzogiorno find themselves on a male-dominated jury, said she wasn't bothered by being outnumbered by blokes. "I have four brothers, so I am used to this sort of thing. I'm not super frightened of boys," Beckinsale said.

Mezzogiorno, meanwhile, said she didn't think in those terms. "It's about human beings not male or female."

Director Shekhar Kapur quietly pointed out that he thinks all creatives have to possess both feminine and masculine traits to qualify for the job. Last year, the girls outnumbered the boys on the jury.

The jury also includes reclusive Spanish filmmaker Victor Erice, composer Alexandre Desplat, former Venice Film Festival director Alberto Barbera, actor Benicio Del Toro and French critic-turned-filmmaker Emmanuel Carrere.

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Del Toro said he was happy to meet Erice, a director whose work he has long admired.

"Every time I go to Spain for work, I always mention Victor Erice in the hope he'll call me," Del Toro said. "Now I have two weeks to be in the same room and get his number."
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