From the press release:
“The American actor, director and producer Robert De Niro will be President of the Jury of the 64th Festival de Cannes, due to take place from May 11th to 22th 2011.
When he accepted the invitation, Robert De Niro said : « The Cannes Film Festival is a rare opportunity for me as it is one of the oldest and one of the best in the world. »
Inviting Robert De Niro as President of the Jury of Cannes, the organizers want to pay also tribute to the co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival which celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2011. Robert De Niro, well known for his love of New York, co-founded Manhattan’s Tribeca Film Center in 1989, the Tribeca Film Festival in 2002, which has a sister festival in Doha.
« As co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival and the Doha Tribeca Film Festival I have an increased appreciation for the jury, who serve, undertaking an important role in choosing films that are represented in the world of film at its highest level, and these types of festivals help connect the international film community and have a lasting cultural impact. » M. De Niro adds. « Having served as President of the Jury in the eighties twice, I know this isn’t an easy task for me or my fellow jury members, but I’m very honored and happy to head the jury for this year’s Cannes Film Festival. »
Considered the best actor of his generation, Robert De Niro has built a durable star career out of his extraordinary ability to disappear into a character. The son of artists, De Niro was raised in New York’s Greenwich Village and studied under Stella Adler. After rising to recognition with Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets (1973) and Coppola’s The Godfather Part II (1974, best supporting actor academy award) , he gained stardom with Taxi Driver Palme d’or 1976. He went then from one masterpiece to the other : Bernardo Bertoulucci’s Novecento (1976), Elia Kazan’s Last Tycoon (1976), Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter (1978), Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America (1984), Brian de Palma’s The Untouchables (1987), Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas (1990) and Casino (1995), Terry Gilliam’s Brazil (1985) and Michael Mann’s Heat (1995), among others.
In 1980, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor for Raging Bull (1980), directed by Martin Scorsese.
He came for eight films at the Festival de Cannes, two of which won Palme d’Or : Taxi Driver, in 1976, and ten years later, The Mission directed by Roland Joffe.
De Niro dedicated to his father, a surrealist painter, his own directorial debut, A Bronx Tale (1993), which earned praise. In 2006, he directed a second feature The Good Shepherd.
His latest blockbuster comedies, Analyze This (1999) and Meet the Parents (2000) spawned sequels : Little Fockers, released late december, is currently enjoying a successful run in France.
Between this and the forthcoming reunion with Scorsese with The Irishman, it feels like a resurgence for one of American’s greatest actors. Very cool.
Will any of his ex-girlfriends have a film competing? I want to get my bets down early…
or does that sort of thing only happen in Venice?
“A man becomes preeminent he’s expected to have enthusiasms”
Better than Tim Burton.
De Niro is the third American in four years as Jury head? Where’s Dimitris for comment?
“It’s gonna take a hell of a lot more than that, Counselor, to prove you’re better than me!”
Thank you, Ari.
I am glad they are giving the old guy something to do. He hasn’t been doing much of notice in the acting world lately. Keep these old guys gainfully employed, I say. My next recommendation for Cannes – Jack Nicholson. Another old American guy needing something useful to do.
Cannes has all the excitement and buzz now of the Oscars (blah!) – and is just about as American – and as relevant.
Maybe here is the right topic to ask a naive question but I have been wondering for quite a while now how much importance and influence does the jury president have on the final decision of awarding the films in a festival… Because it has been my own speculative assumption that certain Palm d’or winners (Lynch, Angelopoulos, Haneke) have became winners due to the direct influence and taste of the jury presidents in those particular years (Bertolucci, Scorsese, and Isabelle Hupert respectively)…
Aside from breaking ties, I don’t think the president of the jury has much in the way of special power.
The President has two votes, the other jury members only have one each. Also, it’s Robert-fucking-de Niro.
I did notice the Huppert-Haneke thing in 2009 though. Another example could be Eastwood (President in 1994) going on record afterwards to say his favourite film from the selection that year was Zhang Yimou’s To Live, which indeed won the Grand Prix. But the European jurors all apparently loved Pulp Fiction, which ultimately took out the Palme d’Or – seems he was outvoted in that instance.
Gilles Jacob also gave an interview last year in which he recounted Roman Polanski (President in ‘91) telling him halfway through the festival that he personally didn’t think any of the films screened so far deserved the Palme d’Or (to Jacob’s dismay and shock). It was only until Polanski saw Barton Fink that he was satisfied; it ended up sweeping the pool, taking out the Palme d’Or, Best Director and Best Actor for Turturro – subsequently prompting Cannes to place limits on how many awards one film can receive.
Or maybe these are all just long bows.
From the 2012 Rules & Regulations , Article 7:
“Each Jury member votes by secret ballot. Decisions will be reached by an absolute majority of votes in the first two ballots and by a relative majority vote in the following ballots. The President and the General Director of the Festival de Cannes will attend Jury deliberations but will take no part in the voting.”