Frears breaks his silence

Calls his jury mates 'pretty classy'

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CANNES -- Jury president Stephen Frears, who had been gagged by Festival de Cannes organizers in the run-up to this year's shindig, said he would set his fellow members free this year.

The British director, speaking to the media Wednesday during the jury news conference, said he wouldn't be seeking to make his jurors watch every film twice or have them discuss each one the minute they've seen a contender.

"These people are pretty classy. I think I am going to do very well to keep my mouth shut," laughed Frears, who had been prevented from doing any interviews reharding his big moment on the Cannes jury.

Frears opened the news conference with his recollection of what happened when he got the call to preside over the jury at the 60th anniversary edition.

"I hesitated, then I telephoned by ex wife," Frears said mysteriously. Prompts of "and, and" from the floor went unanswered and all he added was a mumbled, "it's true."

Decisionmaking from the jury this year might be a long, drawn-out process, with no one really thrilled about pitting filmmaker against filmmaker.

For her part, Hong Kong actress Maggie Cheung said there "are only good films and bad films." She said she liked all genres of movies and would be judging them on whether she liked the movie.

"I like films that are art and not science," she at the Palais. "That is, if they are calculated and formulaic, then that's not for me."

Canadian actress and first-time director Sarah Polley said her experience from both sides of the lens might make her less critical.

"Finding out just how difficult it is to make a film makes you much more generous," she said.

Nobel Prize-winning Turkish author Orhan Pamuk said his first memory of the French jamboree was of a black-and-white photograph of a semi-naked woman on a beach. "I saw that and I thought, 'God, I want to be there,' " he said.

Pamuk said his books haven't been adapted into films because he finds it too hard to let them go. "I am scrupulous about my books being made into movies and no one is calling me, unless my agent has stopped telling me," Pamuk joked.

The other jurors on the main Competition jury are Australian actress Toni Collette, Portuguese actress and director Maria de Medeiros, Italian director Marco Bellocchio, French actor Michel Piccoli and Mauritanian director Abderrahmane Sissako.