Cannes: Jury Promises Impartiality, Mads Mikkelsen Jokes He's "Open to Bribes"

From left: Arnaud Desplechin, Kirsten Dunst, Laszlo Nemes, Vanessa Paradis, Donald Sutherland, George Miller, Katayoon Shahabi, Mads Mikkelsen, Valeria Golino

The actor is part of the competition jury, led by George Miller, that assembled before the media.

The Cannes Film Festival's most important decision-makers were offered a final glimpse of sunlight Wednesday afternoon before descending into darkened rooms for their 10-day cinematic adventure.

The nine-person-strong jury — led by George Miller and including Kirsten Dunst, Arnaud Desplechin, Valeria Golino, Mads Mikkelsen, Laszlo Nemes, Vanessa Paradis, Katayoon Shahabi and Donald Sutherland — assembled before the media in the Palais for the traditional pre-festival press conference, where attempts to divine any clue as to which film might come away with the Palme d'Or were — predictably — thwarted.

Mikkelsen was probed on any favoritism he might offer fellow Dane Nicolas Winding Refn, whose The Neon Demon is in competition. "I thought I might get a phone call saying I couldn’t be on the jury," he said. "I love Nicolas, I love his films ... but I will view [Neon Demon] like any other."

Mikkelsen then joked: "I'm also open to bribes."

While the panelists answered questions about their feeling on being on the jury — "It's kind of a film school, a film camp," suggested Miller — it was Sutherland who provoked the biggest reaction from the crowd.

Asked by a Canadian reporter about the current state of Canadian cinema, the actor (who complained several times of being "freezing" onstage) told a slightly rambling joke about an Englishman, a Canadian and a Frenchman who were to be executed and had been granted one last wish.

"The Englishman asked for a cup of tea, the Canadian asked for 15 minutes to discuss Canadian identity ... and the Frenchman asked to be shot before the Canadian!" he said, to loud roars.

Meanwhile, Nemes — whose first film Son of Saul bowed in Cannes last year before attaining Golden Globe and Oscar glory — discussed his reaction on being asked to join the festival jury.

"It was quite unexpected — I was rather stunned to have received that phone call," he said, adding that he was "humbled" to be a part of it. "I wondered whether it made sense after a first feature to be in the prestigious jury. But I think putting my film in competition was a statement saying that cinema should be open to new ways, that pioneering never stops in cinemas. Maybe this is a continuation of that logic."