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Cannes 2012: How the Nanni Moretti Lead Jury Might Vote

Which film is the odds-on favorite to grab the Palme d’Or this year. It depends not on who you ask, but who is assigned a jury seat. We’ve decided to offer our readers a breakdown on the jury of nine.

Nanni Moretti
Known For: His political edge, as well as an omnipresence in Cannes, where he’s appeared 14 times, winning awards twice.

Best Work: He won the Palme d’Or in 2001 for The Son’s Room, though many regard 1994’s Dear Diary, which won an directing prize at Cannes, to be his best.

Little known fact: Organized an estimated 200,000 protesters in 2002 to a gathering in the square in front of Rome’s San Giovanni basilica to oppose legal reforms planned by the right-wing government of Silvio Berlusconi. He was quote during the protest as saying “The Italians who voted for Berlusconi were following a dream — and they woke up in a nightmare.”

Cup of tea?: Reality, After the Battle, Rust and Bone

Hiam Abbass
Known For: Her humanist acting roles and – soon – directing. Abbass was born as an Arab citizen in Israel, but identifies as Palestinian.

Best Work: She is most commonly recognized for her role as Mouna in The Visitor, though her best performance arguably came in 2008’s Lemon Tree.

Little known fact: During the filming of Spielberg’s Munich, Abbass lived in a hotel with the Arab and Israeli actors for three months. During that time, they had many discussions that “helped both sides grow closer.” In an interview in 2006, Abbass said: “I still remember how difficult it was for the Arab actors to manhandle the Israeli actors in the first scene where the Israeli national team is taken hostage.”

Cup of tea?: After the Battle, Like Someone in Love, In the Fog

Andrea Arnold
Known For: Her earlier features and shorts, influenced by British Kitchen Sink dramas (though recently she has acquired more lush and impressionistic aesthetics). One of the few filmmakers who still embrace 4:3 shooting ratios.

Best Work: While her reputation is founded on her three features, her best work is on the short film Wasp, which she made before her Camera d’Or-winning Red Road. The 26-minute film is heavily autobiographical and stylistically resembles her second feature, Fish Tank.

Little known fact: While studying for a dance CSE in her early teens, she made a performance piece in which she took quotes from ‘The Diary of Anne Frank, and read them aloud as she moved around the room. “All the other kids would just bung on some pop music and dance. I remember the examiners sitting there looking at me, perplexed.”

Cup of tea?: The Angels’ Share, Rust and Bone, Love

Emmanuelle Devos
Known For: Working constantly in theater and cinema, rare is the Devos film that isn’t directed by a major filmmaker (Desplechin, Resnais, Carrère, and soon Provost).

Best Work: Kings and Queen has to be her most wrenching role, though she’s equally terrific as the obliviously neglectful partner in 2005’s Le Moustache.

Little known fact: Would love to have played Nastassja Kinski’s role in Polanski’s Tess. We’ll surely see Devos at that Cannes Classics screening.

Cup of tea?: You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet!, In Another Country, Holy Motors

Diane Kruger
Known For: Her tri-lingual acting skills, making sure she stays keen in her German, French, and English. She’s no longer a fashion model, though you’d never be able to tell by looking at her.

Best Work: As the tortured older sister in Fabienne Berthaud’s Quinzaine-winning Lily Sometimes.

Little known fact: Doesn’t believe in marriage, a sentiment no doubt spawned after her failed marriage with actor/director Guillaume Canet.

Cup of tea?: Like Someone in Love, Paradise: Love, Love

Jean Paul Gaultier
Known For: Haut Coutier fashion ahead of its time, not to mention revolutionary model selections, fragrances, and mix tapes.

Best Work: Le Mâle, of course.

Little known fact: Loves to push buttons by dressing up men in skirts; these men are usually much older than your traditional model, and tend to be heavily pierced and tattooed. Likewise for his women, who are often significantly heavy set. The fashion world has taken offense to this.

Cup of tea?: Cosmopolis, You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet!, Holy Motors

Ewan McGregor
Known For: Ubiquitous presence in upper-middle brow fare from the likes of Baz Luhrmann, Mike Miller, Tim Burton, and the list goes on without stopping.

Best Work: We’d be tempted to go with his heroin addict anti-hero as Mark “Rent Boy” Renton in Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting.

Little known fact: He is a motorcycle enthusiast who has, somehow, taken part in international, transatlantic motorcycle marathons; also had a cancerous mole removed from under his right eye in 2008.

Cup of tea?: Mud, Post Tenebras Lux, You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet!

Alexander Payne
Known For: Declining laughs in adult-oriented comedies about depressed mid-class Americans.

Best Work: Citizen Ruth in a walk. What would the world give for Payne to go back to making straight comedies?

Little known fact: Was one of three screenwriters to pen Jurassic Park III, a cornerstone that divides his filmography into biting satire and sentimental life affirmations, despite the not-directed-by-Spielberg dinosaur movie containing none of those traits, nor taking place in Omaha, Nebraska.

Cup of tea?: Moonrise Kingdom, On the Road, Love

Raoul Peck
Known For: Splitting time, not long ago, between directing politically charged films and documentaries and serving as Haiti’s Minister of Culture.

Best Work: His Cannes-competing The Man by the Shore, which chronicled the experience of a girl’s life in the middle of Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier’s reign in Haiti in the 1960’s.

Little known fact: Spent a year working as a New York City taxi driver.

Cup of tea?: After the Battle, In the Fog, Beyond the Hills

Blake Williams is an avant-garde filmmaker born in Houston, currently living and working in Toronto. He recently entered the PhD program at University of Toronto's Cinema Studies Institute, and has screened his video work at TIFF (2011 & '12), Tribeca (2013), Images Festival (2012), Jihlava (2012), and the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley. Blake has contributed to's coverage for film festivals such as Cannes, TIFF, and Hot Docs. Top Films From Contemporary Film Auteurs: Almodóvar (Talk to Her), Coen Bros. (Fargo), Dardennes (Rosetta), Haneke (Code Unknown), Hsiao-Hsien (Flight of the Red Balloon), Kar-wai (Happy Together), Kiarostami (Where is the Friend's Home?), Lynch (INLAND EMPIRE), Tarantino (Reservoir Dogs), Van Sant (Last Days), Von Trier (The Idiots)

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