Cannes 2024: Jury president Greta Gerwig on France's #MeToo movement and Donald Trump on screen

This year's Cannes Film Festival jury is led by President Greta Gerwig.
This year's Cannes Film Festival jury is led by President Greta Gerwig. Copyright David Mouriquand
Copyright David Mouriquand
By David Mouriquand
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Greta Gerwig and her jury met the press today to discuss their roles as members of the jury, the possible repercussions of the French #MeToo on the festival, and if a film on Donald Trump can be viewed objectively.

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The 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival kicks off tonight (Tuesday 14 May) with the opening film by Quentin Dupieux, Le Deuxième Acte

Beforehand, this year's jury, led by Little Women and Barbie director Greta Gerwig, participated in the yearly jury press conference. 

Joining Gerwig on the jury are US actress Lily Gladstone, who became the first Native American to be Oscar nominated for Best Actress for her performance in Killers of the Flower Moon; Japanese director and Palme d’Or winner Hirokazu Kore-eda, whose film Monster was screened in Competition last year in Cannes and won Best Screenplay; French actress Eva Green (Casino Royale, Proxima, The Three Musketeers); French actor and producer Omar Sy, who wowed us in the Berlinale premiering film The Strangers’ Case.

Also on the jury this year are Lebanese director and screenwriter Nadine Labaki, whose film Capernaum won the Cannes jury prize in 2018; Spanish director and screenwriter J.A. Bayona, who recently directed Society of the Snow; Italian actor Pierfrancisco Favino, who starred in last year’s Commandante, the opening film of the Venice Film Festival; and Turkish screenwriter and photographer Ebru Ceylan, the wife and long-time collaborator of Nuri Bilge Ceylan (2014 Palme d’Or winner Winter Sleep).

Asked about various issues that surround the festival this year - from the feared labour strikes which may derail the festival and the French #MeToo movement - here's everything you need to know about the press conference in key quotes. 

First, about being on the jury...

Lily Gladstone and Cannes jury president Greta Gerwig.
Lily Gladstone and Cannes jury president Greta Gerwig.David Mouriquand
One of my favourite things to do is to watch cinema and discuss it. It feels thrilling to be a part of it. I'm still shocked (to being this year's jury president).
Cannes Jury President Greta Gerwig
It's an honour and a complex role - to watch movies, to judge movies, because art is very subjective. It's a challenge, and a tough exercise because a decision can change a director's life.
Jury member Eva Green
It's a privilege to be here with my jury neighbours. I came relaxed but I was told that the Palme d'Or can change a director's and a film's life... So I thought 'Shit'! (Laughs)
Jury member Omar Sy
French actress Eva Green and Spanish filmmaker J.A. Bayona.
French actress Eva Green and Spanish filmmaker J.A. Bayona.David Mouriquand

One topic of conversation that had to come up was the#MeToo movement, with the looming new report of abuse in French cinema which is meant to be published soon. This may or may not have been debunked, but everyone is bracing themselves.

When asked whether the situation can harm the festival, here's what Greta Gerwig and Juan Antonio Bayona had to say: 

I think people in the community of movies telling us stories and trying to change things for the better is only good. I have seen substantive change in the American film community, and I think it’s important that we continue to expand that conversation. So I think it’s only moving everything in the correct direction. It's only good to keep those lines of communication open.
Greta Gerwig
I feel this issue does not affect cinema in particular. It’s much more widespread, and we’re here to focus on the films.
JA Bayona

When asked about the French #MeToo movement and whether they were surprised that it was taking longer in France compared to the US, Gerwig added: 

I can't speak to timelines, but it's evolving. It's not a destination we all reach together. There have been many concrete changes in the industry, and one example is the rise of intimacy coordinators on film sets.
Greta Gerwig
Cannes jury president Greta Gerwig discusses this year's festival.
Cannes jury president Greta Gerwig discusses this year's festival.David Mouriquand

The topic of the number (or lack thereof) of female filmmakers in Competition, Gerwig stressed that things are also evolving. 

I've been making movies and going to film festivals for 20 years, and this has never not been a question. The numbers are increasing, and it's certainly moving in the right direction. Every year, I cheer when more and more women are represented.
Greta Gerwig

This year’s competition section includes 21 films, only four of which are directed by women. That tallies to just 19 percent of this year’s competition titles being helmed by women. Last year's edition included seven films directed by women, plus a Palme d’Or win for Justine Triet (only the third woman to win the festival’s top prize). The 77th edition brings down representation to 2021 levels.

The ongoing war in Gaza came up when a question was asked to the jury about Cannes’ decision to ban protests on the Croisette. 

Pierfrancesco Favino referred to the festival as a “free space": 

When I say free space, it’s not just physical space. It’s also the possibility of time. One of the most difficult things we could do is seek beauty. Reminding the world that there’s beauty in the world with filmmakers. Movies can talk to people, and if we look for beauty, then we might look for peace.”
Pierfrancesco Favino

Labour unrest is also a hot button topic this year, with the French collective “Sous les écrans la dèche” calling for a strike. The organization is protesting against pending changes in labour policies that will see their unemployment indemnities slashed by more than half. 

I certainly support labour movements and we’ve certainly gone through this just now with our unions. I hope that the festival workers can form an agreement that is good for them and supports them and supports the festival.”
Greta Gerwig

Lastly, the jury was asked about the prospect of seeing a film - The Apprentice - following the life of a young Donald Trump, and whether it is possible to be completely objective when watching it. 

I try to come to every film I see with an open mind and heart, and I'm willing to be surprised. I don't want to make assumptions as to what (The Apprentice) is. Sometimes a film ends up being about something completely different. I look forward to watching it.
Greta Gerwig

The 77th Cannes film festival kicks off today, Tuesday 14 May. Here are some of the Competition films we're most looking forward to. Stay tuned to Euronews Culture for more updates and reviews throughout the festival.

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