CANNES CAN: The Cannes Film Festival has chosen Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar as president of the jury of its 70th edition, scheduled to run from May 17 to 28.
The filmmaker is a regular at the festival, where he has presented five films in competition: “All About my Mother,” for which he won the best director prize, “Volver,” which received the award for best screenplay, “Broken Embraces,” “The Skin I Live In” and “Julieta.” Almodóvar opened the festival in 2004 with “Bad Education” and was featured on the poster for the 60th edition of the event.
“I am grateful, honored and a bit overwhelmed. I am aware of the responsibility that entails being the president of the jury and I hope to be up to the job. I can only tell that I’ll devote myself, body and soul, to this task, that it is both a privilege and a pleasure,” he said in a statement.
With 20 productions in 35 years, Almodóvar is among Europe’s most prolific filmmakers. The festival’s organizers lauded his “incandescent œuvre, a legacy of his punk, protest-filled youth,” and said he was “driven by an insatiable passion for female figures and the history of film itself.”
In a joint statement, Pierre Lescure, president of the festival, and Thierry Frémaux, its delegate-general, also paid homage to recurring cast members such as Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas, Rossy de Palma, Javier Bardem and Victoria Abril.
“For its 70th edition, the Festival de Cannes is delighted to welcome a unique and hugely popular artist. His works have already carved out an eternal niche in the history of film,” they said, noting that Almodóvar had previously been a member of the Cannes jury under the presidency of Gérard Depardieu.
He succeeds Australian director George Miller, best known for the “Mad Max” franchise, whose jury last year awarded the coveted Palme d’Or to British director Ken Loach’s “I, Daniel Blake.”
The official selection and members of the 2017 jury are set to be announced in mid-April.