Magazine article Screen International

?Cannes Film Festival Pays Tribute to French Industry Legend Pierre Rissient

Magazine article Screen International

?Cannes Film Festival Pays Tribute to French Industry Legend Pierre Rissient

Article excerpt

Festival dedicates Cannes Classics title Five and the Skin to memory of late cinema world mover and shaker.

Pierre Rissient

The Cannes Film Festival has paid tribute to its long-time, multi-hatted collaborator Pierre Rissient who passed away on the eve of the 71st edition which kicked off today.

“We are deeply saddened by the news that the cinephile, historian and director Pierre Rissient died this weekend, aged 81. That is why we would like to pay tribute to him, on this opening day of the 71st Cannes Film Festival,” the festival said in a statement, signed off by president Pierre Lescure, delegate general Thierry Frémaux, director of the film department Christian Jeune and all the festival team.

“For more than fifty years, Pierre was one of the most important members of the Cannes community and of the festival, putting all of his creative energy into helping it show films from distant countries. We would wait for him to arrive on the Croisette every year with a mixture of joy, impatience and some nerves too because he had such strong and original views on cinema and on the Festival de Cannes.”

Rissient is credited with introducing many now established filmmakers to Cannes over the years, including most notably Australian director Jane Campion, whose work he championed, bringing then delegate-general Gilles Jacob footage from a trio of her first short films.

Jacob programmed all three works in 1986 and one of them, An Exercise In Discipline-Peel, clinched the Palme d’Or for best short film that year. It was the beginning of a long, ongoing relationship between the festival and Campion, who would go on to win the Palme d’Or for The Piano in 1993.

“There will be much to say about the importance of this behind-the-scenes operator; many people will do so in the coming days, months and years. Today our thoughts are with his wife, Yung Hee, his sister, Anne-Marie and her husband and children,” the festival statement continued.

“We think of his close friends, who are also close friends of the Cannes Film Festival: Bertrand Tavernier, his fellow cinephile for 50 years; Jane Campion, who Pierre discovered on one of his many trips to Australia and who he championed all the way to the Palme d’Or; Clint Eastwood, with whom he had an unshakeable bond; Claire Denis, whose artistry in directing he loved so much; Quentin Tarantino, who loved hearing him tell Hollywood stories that even he didn’t know; Jerry Schatzberg, who says he is grieving for him like a brother. …

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