French filmmaker and screenwriter, Claire Denis, is to lead the short films and Cinéfondation jury of the 72nd Cannes film festival, succeeding Abderrahmane Sissako.
The position also used to be held by filmmakers Naomi Kawase, Cristian Mungiu, and Bertrand Bonello. On Thursday 23 May, along with her jury, she will award the three prizes of the Cinéfondation among the 17 film students’ presented works. On Saturday 25 May, she will award the Short Film Palme d’Or at the closing ceremony of the 72nd edition of the Cannes film festival.
Denis has occupied a unique place in contemporary cinema for over 30 years. She has directed a compelling body of work, including 13 feature films, four of which were screened in the Cannes film festival’s official selection. A true adventurer, she has established her taste for observation and experimentation throughout her artistic journeys, navigating between introspection and openness to the world.
Chocolat (1998), her debut, was a semi-autobiographical film revisiting Cameroon’s independence and the Africa of her childhood – a continent she returned to with Beau Travail (2000), and White Material (2010) – deeply affected audiences and was lauded at the Cannes competition, the César awards, and by critics.
In her films With No Fear, No Die (1990), I Can’t Sleep (1994), Nénette and Boni (1996), and 35 Shots of Rums (2008), Denis explores a cinema of the margins and the heartlands where connections between people are in constant evolution. She is also attached to filming desire born from the otherness, from things forbidden and taboos, as seen in Trouble Every Day (2001) or Bastards (2013).
Always daring, always free, Denis has never stopped reforming the paths between the unknown and the familiar up to her latest High Life (2018), in which the power of her direction and expertise in the ellipsis were reinventing science fiction.
An admirer of Ozu, Denis has worked alongside Wim Wenders, Jim Jarmusch, and Jacques Rivette. She is a filmmaker frequently quoted by the new generation, from Barry Jenkins to Joachim Trier, who will now mentor the young directors of the 2019 selection.
In 2018, the jury chaired by Bertrand Bonello awarded the short film Palme d’Or to All These Creatures, by Charles Williams.
Lynne Ramsay; Xavier Giannoli; Alice Winocour; Pascale Ferran; João Salaviza; Jim Jarmusch; Nuri Bilge Ceylan, and Jane Campion – who remains to this day the only director who received both the short film Palme d’Or and the Palme d’Or for a feature – have also made their first steps in Cannes with this selection.
The 2018 Cinéfondation prizes were awarded to first works by Diego Céspedes; Igor Poplauhin; Shen Di, and Lucia Bulgheroni. They were following in the footsteps of Emmanuelle Bercot; Deniz Gamze Ergüven; Léa Mysius; Kornél Mundruczó; Claire Burger; Cãtãlin Mitulescu, and Nadav Lapid– also discovered by the Cinéfondation.
The Cannes film festival will take place from Tuesday 14 May to Saturday 25 May. The competition jury will be chaired by Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu, while the Un Certain Regard jury will be led by Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki.