With this year’s Cannes Film Festival quickly coming round the bend, now’s as good a time as any to officially start the FSR pre-festival coverage, and as if by magic, perhaps sensing that I was about to do so, the good folks on the south coast of France have announced that Tim Roth will lead the jury of the festival’s secondary competition.

The Un Certain Regard competition seeks to offer films with some intriguing hook or selling point, setting a different tone to the main competition and occasionally unearthing some genuine gems thanks to its agenda of championing new talents. It is that competition that the British actor, famed for such roles as Reservoir Dogs and lately Lie To Me, will preside over, perhaps bringing his own stamp to affairs. So, we can probably expect violence and facial intensity to play a big part – and if Roth’s own The War Zone is anything to go by, we can also expect another trip down the abuse avenue that featured so heavily in the films screened last year.

Roth will be accompanied by a jury made up of artists, journalists, and festival directors to be announced in the next few days, with that lot set to award the Prix Un Certain Regard along with the other awards on Saturday, May 26th, on the penultimate day of the festival.

In other news, Italian director Nanni Moretti – whose Habemus Papam was a surprise high-point from last year’s schedule – has been handed the accolade of heading the Palme D’Or jury. Naturally, he was very excited at the prospect, as he told the Cannes official site:

This is a real joy, an honour and a tremendous responsibility to preside over the jury of the most prestigious festival of cinematography in the world, a festival that is held in a country where film has always been treated with interest and respect. 

As a director, I was always very moved when my films were presented at the Festival de Cannes. I also have very happy memories of my experience as a jury member during the fiftieth anniversary season, and of the attentiveness and passion that went into the jury’s viewing and discussion of all the films.

As a spectator, fortunately I still have the same curiosity that I had in my youth and so it is a great privilege for me to embark on this voyage into the world of contemporary international film.

With a little over a month to go before the festival opens its doors to the bustling and increasingly grumpy throng of the journalists charged with covering it, the only other news we currently have is that Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom will open the festival, Madagascar 3 will play somewhere, for some reason, and Jean-Pierre Dardenne will head the jury for the Cinefondation and short films.

Oh, and this beauty will adorn the festival’s official posters…

The line-up is rumored to be being announced on the 15th, so we can expect a lot more information in the next few days – as well as spurious rumors and pie-in-the-sky wishlists from yours truly as a prelude to the official schedule landing. [Cannes]

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