Q&A: Thierry Fremaux


Festival de Cannes programmer Thierry Fremaux weighs in on setting the fest's lineup with The Hollywood Reporter's Rebecca Leffler.

The Hollywood Reporter: U.S. films are few and far between in the selection, with Quentin Tarantino the only American director in Competition. What gives?

Thierry Fremaux: There are two American films in Competition. Ang Lee has a double nationality. "Taking Woodstock" is definitely an American film.

THR: How do you define the nationality of a film when globalization is making it increasingly difficult?

Fremaux: The nationality of a film depends on several usually contradictory things, namely the nationality of the director, where the money is coming from, where the film is shot and what language is spoken in the film. Look at Gaspar Noe. He's Argentine, his movie ("Enter the Void") was shot in Japan, it's in English and made from French financing. What is the nationality of that film? I don't have the answer.

THR: Will Cannes be affected by the global financial crisis?

Fremaux: The festival itself isn't directly affected by the crisis. But that doesn't mean that we live on the ends of the Earth. Of course, we're conscious that the crisis is there. We like to think that the Festival de Cannes, that cinema can change the world. So we're going to try to save the world.

THR: Will the films this year will be more political or activist?

Fremaux: Not at all. A good selection is the addition of good films. A good movie is a good movie whether it's a political film or a poetic film. Michael Moore's films are political, but they're also good movies. And "Singin' in the Rain" is one of my favorite movies, but it's not a political film by any means. The cinema is all of that at once. But no, Cannes is definitely not a festival of political films.

THR: Do you ever feel pressure to accept the films made by your friends?

Fremaux: I don't feel pressure, because friendship, when it's sincere, is above all that. Accepting a film is accepting a film, it has nothing to do with friendship.