No judgment day for Cannes jurors

Jury president Huppert says panel's goal is 'to love films'

CANNES -- Making snap decisions is a no-no for one juror, this year's membership may be required to see Competition titles more than once, and for everyone on this year's jury "judgment" is a dirty word.

Jury president Isabelle Huppert told the gathered global press pack that she had no intention of leading her jury in the way last year's president, Sean Penn, attempted by steering them toward movies with political leanings.

"Last year, Sean Penn defined a line of approach (to jury duties) but that is not my intention," Huppert said.

Speaking at the jury presentation here Wednesday, the French actress said very firmly that she and her fellow jurors were here "not to judge, but to love films."

She added that she hoped everyone would bring a bit of their own soul to what they see onscreen when plumping for their favorite.

For Huppert -- who has been to the Festival de Cannes as an actress at least 17 times and has hosted both the opening and closing ceremonies -- the shindig is a home away from home.

Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan expressed concern with the task at hand because he often makes snap decisions within the first 10 minutes of a film on whether he likes it.

"Original films may seem dull and boring at first, but then you watch them to the end and suddenly they can occupy a good place in you," Ceylan said. "My first reaction is not the right one. I will be careful as I don't trust myself. Filming is a serious thing for me, but this (jury duty) is play for me."

Huppert said that, should jurors require a second look at one of the films, she will not be standing in their way. "Why not," she said, laughing.

U.S. filmmaker James Gray joked that accepting the invitation was easy because of childcare issues. "I have 20,000 kids, so I don't get many opportunities to watch so many films in so short a space of time."

British jury member Hanoi Karachi said that prizes for movies always seem like a bad idea until you win one and then they seem like a good idea.

Women outweigh men on the jury, with president Huppert tipping the balance in favor of the females. "I am distrustful of classifying things along male/female lines. But I am delighted there are as many women on the jury," Huppert said.

The jurors, who all share the accolade of having been involved in a film in previous Cannes editions, also include Italian mutlihyphenate Asia Argento, Taiwanese actress Shu Qi, Indian actress and UNICEF goodwill rep Sharmila Tagore, U.S. actress Robin Wright Penn and South Korean filmmaker Lee Chang-dong.