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Almodóvar to Chair Jury at 70th Cannes Film Festival

It has been announced that Pedro Almodóvar will chair the jury of the 70th Cannes Film Festival (17-28 May), a form of accolade by default for the Spanish director who has never won the Palme d’Or in the main category for the best film.

For the 70th anniversary of the Festival, many were expecting a woman president of the jury. The names of Juliette Binoche and Kathryn Bigelow were even being mentioned. Then, surprise! The name of Pedro Almodóvar was finally pulled out of the hats of Pierre Lescure and Thierry Frémaux. In the absence of a woman, it is a filmmaker in love with women who will preside over the jury of Cannes 2017. Having taken part in the competition last year with his 20th film, the Spanish filmmaker has agreed to return.

“I am very happy to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival in this privileged position,” said Almodóvar in the statement issued last week by the Festival’s press service. “I am grateful and honoured and also scared! Being president of the jury is a heavy responsibility and I hope I will rise to the occasion. I can assure you that I am going to devote myself, body and soul, to this task, which is both a pleasure and a privilege.”

Member of the jury in 1992

For their part, the organizers are delighted to welcome him once again on the Promenade de la Croisette and have stated that “A long-standing loyalty connects Pedro Almodóvar to the Festival, for which he was member of the jury in 1992 under the presidency of Gérard Depardieu”.

A loyalty that has not always been well rewarded. During his long career, starting in 1980 with «Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Average Girls», the star director of the Spanish New Wave presented five films at the competition in Cannes, without ever receiving the Palme d’Or in the main category for the best film. This award still lacks his prestigious record. The festival legend is that he developed a certain amount of distrust for the Cannes competition. Thierry Frémaux confirmed this in his diary 2016, saying that Almodóvar had to be convinced to present his new film: “He knows his history and knows that Hitchcock never won an Oscar, no more than Bergman the Palme d’Or, but he maintains a complex relationship with the competition that has never honoured him,” wrote the General Delegate of the Festival.

A flamboyant and full-on personality

In a way, Almodóvar will thus be able to take his revenge on the juries that unjustly deprived him of the Palme in the past. Knowing his flamboyant and full-on personality, one can imagine that he will indeed be a very active and rather authoritative president. It is also said that despite his venerable age (67 years), this proud representative of the post – Franco Madrilenian cultural scene (la movida) will make a very oléolé president of the jury, for an anniversary edition that is expected to be particularly festive.

Certainly Pedro Almodóvar will bring a bit of fire to his role as the new chair of the 70thCannes Film Festival.

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