A short article (Quentin Tarantino président du jury en 2004, February 15) in Le Nouvel Observateur reported Friday's announcement that American director Quentin Tarantino (image at right from Romain Desbiens's site, Quentin Tarantino, Cinéphile et Cinéaste) will preside over the jury of the 57th Festival International du Film at Cannes, from May 12 to 23. (He succeeds Patrice Chéraud, the French director probably most famous for his 1994 remake of La Reine Margot.) Tarantino is not unknown at Cannes, of course, since his film Reservoir Dogs competed there in 1992 and Pulp Fiction won the Palme d'Or in 1994. QT was reported as responding to the honor of the presidency as follows (what I think he said originally in English is on the festival's Web site):
For a filmmaker and film lover there's no greater honor than to be on the jury of the Cannes Film Festival. To be President is both a magnificent honor and a magnificent responsibility. And also the crowning achievement of a lifetime spent in cinematic obsession: a magnificent obsession.The presence of Americans on the Cannes jury is certainly not unusual in recent years (Meg Ryan and Steven Soderbergh in 2003, Sharon Stone in 2002, Jonathan Demme in 2000, and Holly Hunter and Jeff Goldblum in 1999, for example), and Americans have already served as jury presidents, as David Lynch did in 2002 and Martin Scorsese in 1998. That being said, I'm still very happy for QT, and I think that his selection shows the growing esteem for his movies in France. I'm sure that he will represent the United States well, if perhaps somewhat quirkily, on the Croisette this year.