Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Spielberg welcomed at Cannes opener

Director and jury president Steven Spielberg at the opening ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival

Steven Spielberg was given a standing ovation - and a serenade - as he arrived to head up the jury at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

The acclaimed director is serving as jury president at this year's star-studded event and although he himself has never had a movie in competition at the festival, he was received like a visiting head of state.

The Lincoln filmmaker received a standing ovation at the opening ceremony and was serenaded with a performance of Miss Celie's Blues from his 1985 film, The Colour Purple.

He heads the jury that will decide the prestigious Palme d'Or, given to one of the 20 competing films, with entries ranging from the Coen brothers (Llewyn Davis), Alexander Payne (Nebraska) and Steven Soderbergh (Behind the Candelabra).

This year's jury is a starry bunch, including Nicole Kidman, Ang Lee and Christoph Waltz.

"Everyone sits in judgment of us," Spielberg said. "So it's our turn."

At the opening ceremony, Leonardo DiCaprio, joined by his Great Gatsby co-star, Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan, declared the 66th Cannes officially begun.

Gatsby plays out of competition at the festival, but internationally-respected filmmakers like Roman Polanski (Venus In Fur), Asghar Farhadi (The Past) and Jim Jarmusch (Only Lovers Left Alive) are to premiere their films in competition.

The international jury also includes Romanian director Cristian Mungiu, Scottish filmmaker Lynne Ramsay, Japanese director Naomi Kawase, French actor Daniel Auteuil and Bollywood star Vidya Balan.

"I'm going to have to look at the Sidney Lumet film 12 Angry Men, again as a tutorial to prepare myself for the final day of deliberation," Spielberg said with a smile.

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