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Cannes 2018: Meet the festival jury

For the first time, the jury is both majority female and led by a woman

AFP
10:37 May 8, 2018
Jury member Kristen Stewart

In a year rocked by the #MeToo movement, the jury of the Cannes film festival is both majority female and led by a woman for the first time. Here are the nine members:

Cate Blanchett

Cate BlanchettThe two-time Oscar winner from Australia is the 12th woman to head the panel of judges. The 48-year-old has emerged as a key figure in Hollywood’s fight against sexual harassment.

One of the first women to call out Harvey Weinstein, Blanchett recently co-founded the Time’s Up movement in support of abuse victims.

She made her breakthrough as Britain’s flame-haired monarch Elizabeth I in the 1998 biopic, earning her the first of her six Oscar nominations.

Although she has never won anything at Cannes, her performance in Carol, where she played one half of a couple of illicit lesbian lovers, earned her rave reviews in 2014.

Chang Chen

cOne of Taiwan’s best-known actors, the 41-year-old shot to fame in the 2000 martial arts saga Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon by fellow countryman Ang Lee.

Born into a family of actors, Chang got his first leading role aged 14 in A Brighter Summer Day, a violent four-hour epic about warring street gangs.

He has starred in several critically acclaimed Chinese-language films including Hou Hsiao-hsien’s The Assassin, which won the best director award at Cannes in 2015.

Kristen Stewart

Kristen StewartThe 28-year-old has long been a darling of Cannes, appearing in the main competition in On the Road by Walter Salles in 2012 and Olivier Assayas’ Clouds of Sils Maria and Woody Allen’s Cafe Society in 2014.

The award-winning actress also premiered her first short film as a director, Come Swim, at the festival last year.

Stewart, a Los Angeles native, was first spotted by a talent scout at age eight and had her breakout role opposite Jodie Foster in the 2002 thriller Panic Room.

But her career made a quantum leap when, at 17, she played broody teen Bella Swan who falls in love with a vampire in the Twilight films.

Khadja Nin

Khadja NinBurundian Khadja Nin has become one of French-speaking Africa’s most celebrated singer-songwriters with her unique blend of Afro-Cuban rhythms and modern pop.

She has performed alongside music legends like Montserra Caballe and Sting, and collaborated with French screen legend Jeanne Moreau for a music video.

The daughter of a diplomat and youngest of eight children studied music from an early age before eventually moving to Europe.

Ava DuVernay

Ava DuVernayThe trailblazing director, screenwriter, producer and distributor, who directed the Oscar-nominated civil rights drama Selma, is the first African-American woman to helm a film with a budget over $100 million — this year’s A Wrinkle In Time starring Reese Witherspoon and Oprah Winfrey.

DuVernay’s Oscar-nominated documentary 13th, named for the constitutional amendment that abolished slavery, offered a devastating account of mass incarceration of black men in contemporary American.

In March, she signed on to make the DC Comics superhero blockbuster, The New Gods.

Robert Guediguian

Robert GuediguianFrench writer and producer Robert Guediguian is best known for the The Young Karl Marx and the acclaimed Marius and Jeannette, the gutsy story of a single mother supermarket checkout worker.

He also directed the much praised Le voyage en Armenie, a story set in his ancestral homeland.

Lea Seydoux

Lea SeydouxAt 32, Seydoux is one of France’s best-known actresses with a Palme d’Or already under her belt.

Starring in pictures by heavyweights ranging from Quentin Tarantino to Woody Allen, Seydoux is arguably best known to global audiences for her turn as a Bond girl opposite Daniel Craig in 2015’s Spectre.

But it was her soulful turn in Abdellatif Kechiche’s epic lesbian love story Blue is the Warmest Colour, which unusually captured the Palme d’Or for the director and the two leads, that made her a Cannes fixture.

Denis Villeneuve

Denis VilleneuveThe director and screenwriter, whose update of the sci-fi classic Blade Runner 2049 picked up two Oscars this year, is a frequent guest of the festival.

The 50-year-old filmmaker made his Cannes debut two decades ago with August 32nd on Earth a drama about a model who confronts an existential crisis by deciding to have a baby with her best friend.

Andrei Zvyagintsev

Andrey ZvyagintsevThe Russian maker of such classics as The Return and Leviathan is regarded as one of the greatest directors in the world at the moment, with his last film Loveless the critics’ favourite for the Palme d’Or last year.

It was pipped at the post by The Square, but the sombre story of the warped values of the country’s post-Soviet middle class was later nominated for best foreign film Oscar.