Cannes festival: Coen brothers to head jury

The Coen brothers, the award-winning American directors of "No Country for Old Men", "Fargo" and "The Big Lebowski", are to jointly head this year's Cannes Film Festival jury, the organisers announced on Tuesday.

Cannes festival: Coen brothers to head jury
A file photo taken on November 14, 2013 shows the Coen brothers, Ethan (L) and Joel (R). Photo: AFP

Joel and Ethan Coen will be co-presidents of the panel of filmmakers and actors who will judge the 20-or-so films in the main competition event of the festival, which will run May 13-24, according to a statement.

"We are very happy to be coming back to Cannes," the brothers were quoted as saying in the organisers' statement, which was in French.

The two directors added they were "especially happy at the opportunity being given to us to see films from around the entire world". They stressed that Cannes "has always played an important role for us", since the beginning of their careers.

"Being presidents of the jury this year is even more of an honour in that we've never been presidents of anything before."

It is the first time the Cannes jury will be jointly headed by two people.

But the Coens are used to collaborating closely, having shared directing and writing duties on all of their films over the past three decades.

The siblings are also Cannes darlings, having presented seven of their 16 features at the French Riviera showcase event.

They picked up the festival's top Palme d'Or prize for "Barton Fink" in 1991, its runner-up Grand Jury Prize for "Inside Llewyn Davis" in 2013, and its Best Director award for "Fargo" (1996) and "The Man Who Wasn't There" (2001).

Popular 'auteur' filmmakers

The wry humour of their screenplays, their demanding production standards, and the outstanding cinematography they bring to bear on their movies have won a slew of awards in other competitions — most notably the Oscars, where their "No Country for Old Men" cleaned up in several categories including Best Picture in 2007.

"The Coens incarnate a certain 'auteur' filmmaking that is universal and with wide appeal, full of humour and totally original in their way of looking at the world," the director of the Cannes Film Festival, Thierry Fremaux, told AFP.

Joel, 60, and Ethan, 57, take over running the Cannes jury from last year's president Jane Campion, the New Zealand director of "The Piano".

The other members of the jury have not been announced yet, but Cannes's organisers like to bring in filmmakers and actors of note from different regions around the world.

The Cannes Film Festival's official selection of movies competing for the Palme d'Or top prize is also usually an eclectic list ranging across themes and borders. The line-up is usually announced the month before the festival opens.

If the Coen brothers' filmography is anything to by, though, dark humour and offbeat characters or situations would be appealing traits they would be looking for.

They have also increasingly been attracting Hollywood stars to their own films.

George Clooney, for instance, has already appeared in three of their movies — "O Brother, Where Art Thou?", "Intolerable Cruelty" and "Burn After Reading".

He is appearing in a fourth Coen brothers film due to come out next year, "Hail, Caesar!", with Josh Brolin, Tilda Swinton, Channing Tatum and Scarlett Johansson.


French films with English subtitles to watch in November

As days get shorter and temperatures drop, November is a great month to enjoy a warm and comforting moment at the cinema. Here’s a round up of the French movies with English subtitles to see in Paris this month.

Cinema in France
Photo: Loic Venance/AFP

The cinema group Lost in Frenchlation runs regular screenings of French films in the capital, with English subtitles to help non-native speakers follow the action. The club kicks off every screening with drinks at the cinema’s bar one hour before the movie, so it’s also a fun way to meet people if you’re new to Paris.

These are the events they have coming up in November.

Friday, November 5th

Boîte Noire – What happened on board the Dubai-Paris flight before it crashed in the Alps? In this thriller Matthieu, a young and talented black box analyst played by Pierre Niney (star of Yves Saint-Laurent among other movies) is determined to solve the reason behind this deadly crash, no matter the costs. 

The screening will take place at the Club de l’étoile cinema at 8pm. But you can arrive early for drinks at the bar from 7pm. 

Tickets are €10 full price, €8 for students and all other concessions, and can be reserved here.

Sunday, November 14th

Tralala – In the mood for music? This new delightful French musical brings you into the life of Tralala (played by Mathieu Amalric), a 48 years old, homeless and worn-out street singer, who one day gets mistaken for someone else. Tralala sees an opportunity to get a better life by taking on a new personality. He now has a brother, nephews, ex-girlfriends, and maybe even a daughter. But where is the lie? Where is the truth? And who is he, deep down?

The night will start with drinks from 6pm followed by the screening at 7pm at the Luminor Hôtel de Ville cinema. There is also a two-hour cinema-themed walk where you’ll be taken on a “musicals movie tour” in the heart of Paris, which begins at 4pm.

Tickets cost €10, or €8 for students and concessions, and can be found here. Tickets for the walking tour cost €20 and must be reserved online here.

Thursday, November 18th

Illusions Perdues – Based on the great novel series by Honoré de Balzac between 1837 and 1843, this historical drama captures the writer Lucien’s life and dilemmas who dreams about a great career of writing and moves to the city to get a job at a newspaper. As a young poet entering the field of journalism, he is constantly challenged by his desire to write dramatic and eye-catching stories for the press. But are they all true?

The evening will kick off with drinks at L’Entrepôt cinema bar at 7pm, followed by the movie screening at 8pm. Tickets are available online here, and cost €8.50 full price; €7 for students and all other concessions.

Sunday, November 21st

Eiffel – Having just finished working on the Statue of Liberty, Gustave Eiffel (played by Romain Duris) is tasked with creating a spectacular monument for the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris. It’s ultimately his love story with Adrienne Bourgès (Emma Mackey) that will inspire him to come up with the idea for the Eiffel Tower.

After a first screening last month, Lost in Frenchlation is organising a new one at the Luminor Hôtel de Ville cinema, with pre-screening drinks at the cinema bar. 

Tickets cost €10, or €8 for students and concessions, and can be found here

Thursday, November 25th

Les Héroïques – Michel is a former junkie and overgrown child who only dreams of motorbikes and of hanging out with his 17-year-old son Léo and his friends. But at 50 years old, he now has to handle the baby he just had with his ex, and try not to make the same mistakes he has done in the past. 

The film will be followed by a Q&A with the director Maxime Roy who will discuss his very first feature. 

Tickets cost €10, or €8 for students and concessions, and can be found here.

Full details of Lost in Frenchlation’s events can be found on their website or Facebook page. In France, a health pass is required in order to go to the cinema.