Thierry Fremaux, Cannes Film Festival

Screen International, April 19, 2013 | Go to article overview

Thierry Fremaux, Cannes Film Festival


Cannes Film Festival artistic director Thierry Fremaux announced the Official Selection for the 66th edition on Thursday (April 18). He talked to ScreenDaily afterwards about the selection, why he doesn't think micro-budget filmmaking is the way forward and Lars von Trier.

Are there any titles that got away?

It's more complicated than that. Three, even six months before Cannes a dream list starts to take shape but it's just a wish list - there are always films which aren't ready and others that simply aren't good. We're very happy with what we've got. The press loves to speculate on what's in and what's out and that's fine - it's a Cannes tradition.

Positive rumours are okay but then you get negative rumours suggesting that a film was rejected and very often it just wasn't ready.

Conversely, there are lots of films we think won't be ready and then are. We saw Nebraska, the day before yesterday (April 16). Alexander said to me, 'You never know, it might be ready'. There was also some doubt over Claire Denis' The Bastards. She couldn't find the film in the editing process.

Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac is an example of a film that people wanted to see at Cannes but was not ready. What is von Trier's status vis-à-vis the festival? Is he still persona non grata?

Lars von Trier was declared 'persona non grata' for the festival of 2011.

What does that mean?

It means that he was declared 'persona non grata' for 2011 and was never declared 'persona non grata' forever. We didn't see his film because it wasn't ready. The day he has a film ready in time for Cannes we will talk about him again.

It's an interesting selection of newcomers and regulars this year. What was the thinking?

Yes it's an interesting selection but let's see, let's see. I get irritated by comments that it's always the same people, the regulars, but if the regulars make the best films you have to take them. But this year, there's a mix of discoveries and regulars.

There is only one woman in Competition. Were there really no other eligible female-directed picture?

If you count Un Certain Regard, there are seven women in Official Selection. Un Certain Regard is as important for me as the competition.

As I said at the press conference, the lack of women in cinema is a fundamental problem. As a citizen I think we need to fight it but it's not a battle I can wage as a Cannes selector.

I don't select films because they are directed by women. The most important thing is the film - whether it be by a woman, man, old person or young person.

One can create a controversy around Cannes, use Cannes, but Cannes is not at the root of the problem. You can attack the festival but it does not solve the problem. It's an easy way to discuss the issue without really doing anything about it.

There was the controversy last year and then in the 12 intervening months nobody's actually done anything to tackle the issue. The upshot of all this is that if Valerie Bruni Tedeschi's film (A Castle in Italy) doesn't go down well everyone will ask if we put the film in because she's a woman. The answer is no - we put it in because we thought it was a good film.

But there were plenty of films by female auteurs which were ready around this time?

The thing about women is that - like men - they can make bad films. There are hundreds of men who were rejected and dozens of women too. We're not going to take a film by a woman simply because it's by a women - what an insult. …

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