Cannes Film Fest 2015: Juries (Coen Brothers), Highlights, Awards

For the first time in the Festival de Cannes history, two leading figures will chair the Jury.  American filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen have accepted the invitation from President Pierre Lescure and General Delegate Thierry Frémaux to become the Presidents of the 68th edition of the Festival.

“We look forward to returning to Cannes this year”, Joel and Ethan Coen said from the Hail Caesar! film shoot with George Clooney, Christophe Lambert, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Josh Brolin and Channing Tatum. “We welcome as always the opportunity to watch movies there from all over the world. Cannes is a festival that has been important to us since the very beginning of our career. Presiding over the Jury is a special honor, since we have never heretofore been president of anything.”

The year of 2015 marks the celebration of 120 years since the invention of the Lumière cinematograph.  The Festival de Cannes will be pleased to recognise, through the Coens, the work of all “cinema brothers” who, since Louis and Auguste Lumière, have enriched its history.

Welcome “brothers” in Cannes include Joel and Ethan Coen who won the Palme d’Or in 1991, Paolo and Vittorio Taviani received it in 1976, and Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne in 1998 and in 2005.

Joel and Ethan Coen

Palme d’Or laureates in 1991, the Coen brothers are part of the Festival’s history. Since Raising Arizona (1987), their second film, they have been invited into the Official Selection and have presented nine of their films, often winning the most prestigious prizes: the Palme d’Or in 1991 for Barton Fink; the Award for Best Director in 1996 for Fargo as well as for The Man Who Wasn’t There in 2001. And in 2013, Inside Llewyn Davis won the Grand Prix, from Steven Spielberg.

From New York, where Joel studied film, the Coen brothers have become the embodiment of independent cinema, and let’s not forget that they have collaborated since their first film, Blood Simple in 1984, which won the Grand Prix at Sundance Film Festival. After Miller’s Crossing and Raising Arizona, both critically acclaimed, it was Barton Fink which brought international recognition. The brothers asserted their talent and originality in films such as Fargo, which was extremely popular with audiences, The Big Lebowski, which has acquired cult status with many film lovers, and O’Brother, Where Art Thou, which gave George Clooney his first big comedy role.

They always work together on films, for which Ethan (himself an author, with a short story collection, Gates of Eden, published in 1998 and newly re-edited in France) is the producer and Joel the director, and since 2004 they have credited themselves together for the script, directing, editing, and production, reinforcing the image of a kind of cinema as personal as it is brotherly.

Ethan and Joel also extend the family spirit to their filming crews and actors they work with regularly: Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Frances McDormand and George Clooney are the actors inspired by the sense of absurdity and offbeat style which runs through their work, masking its radical pessimism.

Their style crosses several varied genres which question the myths of American culture: from madcap comedy to westerns (True Grit, which opened Berlin Film Festival), intellectual charades to film noir, to literary adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men (2007), which won international prizes and four Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Directors.