Matthew Weiner: Berlinale Jury Duty Is Like "Judging Criminals"

Matthew Weiner International Emmys - H 2014
AP Images/Invision

Matthew Weiner International Emmys - H 2014

The Berlin fest's 2015 jury, chaired by director Darren Aronofsky, met the press on Thursday to share how it will approach the 19 films in competition.

The 65th Berlinale's main competition jury met the press on Thursday to offer their thoughts about how they would approach watching the 19 films contending for this year's Golden Bear.

"Each day is like Christmas for me," said jury president Darren Aronofsky, adding that he had avoided reading any of the film descriptions and was figuring out which language they’d be in by their distribution logos.

Aronofsky claimed that picking the winner was "very much the cliche of comparing apples and oranges," but that film festival awards help bring attention to films that might otherwise slip away unnoticed.

"The Wrestler came in under the radar at Venice and winning the Golden Lion helped that film," he noted.

Along with chairman Aronofsky, this year's jury consists of German actor Daniel Bruhl (Rush), French star Audrey Tautou (Amelie), Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, South Korean director Bong Joon-Ho (Snowpiercer), Golden Bear winner Claudia Llosa (The Milk of Sorrow) from Peru and Italian producer Martha De Laurentiis (Hannibal).

Berlin first-time visitor Matthew Weiner joked that his presence as a TV man had "clearly lowered the status" of the festival and that being in the competition jury made him feel nervous.

"It sounds like you’re judging criminals, but you’re judging artists," he said.

One jury member who says she no longer feels the pressure of being judged is Tautou, who admitted that as well as stopping smoking, she has stopped reading the critics.

"So, I don’t know how it feels anymore to read bad reviews," she said. "But to me when you are on a jury, you don’t vote against something, you vote for."

When asked by a correspondent from the news agency of the Chinese government, Xinhua, whether his position as jury chair meant he had a more powerful vote, Aronofsky said, smiling, "It's a democracy here," which drew a laugh from the assembled press corps.

Looking at his fellow jury members, he later joked: "Everyone seems quite sane so far — although Bong [Joon-ho] is a little questionable."