The 3 questions - May 17, 2017
In 2015, Bernard Payen, filmmaker and director of programming at Cinémathèque Française, was part of the jury of the Golden Camera (Caméra d’Or) in Cannes. It is an award for the best first film.
We came to him to know a bit more about what life as a Cannes juror is like.
Orange Pop: What is a typical day for a Cannes juror?
Bernard Payen: Being a juror at Cannes is experiencing the festival under the best possible circumstances, being able to enter the theater and have a reserved seat, even when you’re late. They wanted us to watch the movies together as much as possible. The pace is quite intense (that year, the selection had 24 films), which is even worse if you want to attend other screenings than those you are obliged to go to. The hardest part is not talking about the movies during the festival, so just imagine meeting your friends or the people you know and they start asking about what you’ve seen and liked. But our position forbids any talking about the movies (at least those in competition for the Golden Camera)! It’s really hard not being able to share what you really liked and what you didn’t. And it only takes one conversation for rumors to start.
O. Pop: Tell us about the deliberations. Is it difficult to find common ground between all the jurors?
B.P: Our president of jury Sabine Azéma asked us to discuss about the movies right after the screenings. Obviously our instant reactions could change from day to day, which they had. I don’t think I’ve ever talked about movies more than with the jury. With most juries, you watch the movies together or separately then you meet up once or twice to review everything. That wasn’t the case with ours. Our daily passionate and rigorous conversations between people who were very different from each other have helped us see the light. That’s why when time came to deliberate, our decision pointed quite naturally towards César Augusto Acevedo’s La Tierra Y La Sombra.
O. Pop: What’s your best memory of your Cannes experience as a member of the jury?
B.P: There’s not just one. There was a real solidarity between the members of the jury, a very distinctive one, which was kind of unexpected as we didn’t know each other for the most part. Those 10 days have been an enchanting interlude and to this day we’re still in touch and share lots of colorful memories, including one during a boat trip to the Lérins Islands that I think we’ll all remember for the rest of our lives.