The Italian-American actress and director Isabella Rossellini has kindly consented to preside over the Un Certain Regard Jury
For the first time in the history of the Festival de Cannes, not one but two leading figures will chair the Jury. American filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen have accepted the invitation from President Pierre Lescure and General Delegate Thierry Frémaux to become the Presidents of the 68th edition of the Festival.
The daughter of Italian director Roberto Rossellini and Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman, to whom this year’s Festival de Cannes is to pay tribute, Isabella began her cinematic career alongside her father as a dresser, before becoming acting for the Taviani Brothers – family friends who gave her a role in The Meadow (1979). Her career quickly took an international turn, with White Nights by Taylor Hackford (1985), Tough Guys Don’t Dance by Norman Mailer (1987), Les Yeux noirs (1987) by Nikita Mikhalkov, Blue Velvet (1986) and then Wild at Heart (1990) by David Lynch, for whom she played a number of mysterious and tortured female roles.
She went on to star in a wider variety of guises for both television and film in Italy and America but returned to arthouse cinema with Abel Ferrara’s The Funeral (1996), and Two Lovers by James Gray (2008), in which she played a role of remarkable intensity. In 2010 she appeared in The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Saverio Costanzo.
In 2008 following a request from Robert Redford, she threw herself into directing a miniseries devoted to the reproduction, seduction techniques and maternal behaviour of animals. Green Porno, Seduce me and Mammas – all produced by SundanceTV – which revealed her irresistible comic talent and off-beat sense of humor.
Miss Rossellini and Jean-Claude Carrière then made a scenic version entitled Animals Distracted Me, which toured the world to great acclaim.
At the 2015 Festival de Cannes, Rossellini will take part in the tribute to her mother by attending the screening of Ingrid Bergman, in Her Own Words, a documentary by Stig Björkman being shown as part of the Cannes Classics. She will also launch her own ‘Ingrid Bergman Tribute’ to celebrate the centenary of her mother’s birth. The show, directed by Guido Torlonia and Ludovica Damiani, will be based on both her autobiography and her correspondence with Roberto Rossellini and will play on some at the world’s major theatres.
With the help of a soon-to-be-announced Jury made up of artists, journalists and festival directors, Rossellini will award the Un Certain Regard Prize and meet the winners on Saturday 23rd of May, on the eve of the closing ceremony. The 2014 Un Certain Regard was awarded by President of the Jury Pablo Trapero to White God directed by Kornél Mundruczó.
Palme d’or laureates in 1991, the Coen brothers are part of the Festival’s history. Since Raising Arizona (1987), their second film, they have been invited into the Official Selection and have presented nine of their films, often winning the most prestigious prizes: the Palme d’or in 1991 for Barton Fink; the Award for Best Director in 1996 for Fargo as well as for The Man Who Wasn’t There in 2001. And in 2013, Inside Llewyn Davis won the Grand Prix, from Steven Spielberg.
From New York, where Joel studied film, the Coen brothers have become the embodiment of independent cinema, and let’s not forget that they have collaborated since their first film, Blood Simple in 1984, which won the Grand Prix at Sundance Film Festival. After Miller’s Crossing and Raising Arizona, both critically acclaimed, it was Barton Fink which brought international recognition. The brothers asserted their talent and originality in films such as Fargo, which was extremely popular with audiences, The Big Lebowski, which has acquired cult status with many film lovers, and O’Brother, Where Art Thou, which gave George Clooney his first big comedy role.
They always work together on films, for which Ethan (himself an author, with a short story collection, Gates of Eden, published in 1998 and newly re-edited in France) is the producer and Joel the director, and since 2004 they have credited themselves together for the script, directing, editing, and production, reinforcing the image of a kind of cinema as personal as it is brotherly.
Ethan and Joel also extend the family spirit to their filming crews and actors they work with regularly: Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Frances McDormand and George Clooney are the actors inspired by the sense of absurdity and offbeat style which runs through their work, masking its radical pessimism. Their style crosses several highly varied genres which question all the myths of American culture: from madcap comedy to westerns (True Grit, which opened Berlin Film Festival), intellectual charades to film noir, to the literary adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men (2007), which won a number of international prizes and four Oscars.
“We look forward to returning to Cannes this year”, Joel and Ethan Coen said from the Hail Caesar! film shoot with George Clooney, Christophe Lambert, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Josh Brolin and Channing Tatum. “We welcome as always the opportunity to watch movies there from all over the world. Cannes is a festival that has been important to us since the very beginning of our career. Presiding over the Jury is a special honour, since we have never heretofore been president of anything. We will issue further proclamations at the appropriate time.”
2015 is the celebration of 120 years since the invention of the Lumière cinematograph, and the Festival de Cannes recognize, through the Coens, the work of all “cinema brothers” who, since Louis and Auguste Lumière, have enriched its history. The Festival has also had the opportunity to welcome “brothers” in a great way: like Joel and Ethan Coen who won the Palme d’or in 1991, Paolo and Vittorio Taviani received it in 1976, as well as Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne in 1998 and in 2005.
The 68th annual Festival de Cannes will take place from Wednesday 13 until Sunday 24 May 2015. The composition of the Official Selection and the members of the Jury will be unveiled in mid-April.