The Cannes Film Festival has announced that Steven Spielberg will be the Jury President for the 66th edition running from May 15 through 16. Festival President Gilles Jacob notes that “Steven Spielberg is a Cannes ‘regular’: Sugarland Express, Color Purple. But it was with E.T. that I screened as a world premiere in ’82 that ties were made of the type you never forget. Ever since, I’ve often asked Steven to be Jury President, but he’s always been shooting a film. So when this year I was told ‘E.T., phone home,’ I understood and immediately replied: ‘At last!'”
Movie City News notes that the announcement comes just a day after Spielberg found himself looking back 20 year to Schindler’s List. Erik Hayden was on hand yesterday for the Hollywood Reporter as Spielberg took part in “a launch event for the IWitness Video Challenge, which encourages secondary school students to honor the legacy of Schindler’s List by engaging in community service inspired by survivors’ testimonies and showcasing their action in a short video essay. The event was sponsored by the USC Shoah Foundation, which Spielberg founded in 1994, and timed to the release of the best picture Oscar winner’s March 5 Blu-ray release.” Spielberg: “When I went to Poland to start working on Schindler’s List, I quickly realized after a couple of days of filming that this just wasn’t a natural reflex of my filmmaking instincts—this was going to be something that was going to change my life.” And: “People who see disturbing images on media and on television, people who watch, let’s say, a clip of random violence or discrimination or bullying on YouTube and stand silent. So many in the world refuse to bear witness and do something about it. And I’m finding that in many cases technology is becoming more of a vehicle of voyeurism than a vehicle for change.”
The Austin Chronicle is marking two other 20th anniversaries. Staffers, in particular festival and Chronicle co-founder Louis Black, have been covering the SXSW Film Festival for two decades now, and this week they tell us about the films and events they’re still thinking about.
“It wasn’t obvious when Dazed and Confused spun onto screen in 1993 that it was destined to take its place alongside the truly great youth ensemble cast films,” writes Margaret Moser. “That designation places it with such films as Rebel Without a Cause, American Graffiti, and The Last Picture Show, yet Dazed and Confused stands out as a risk, an indie production filmed on Richard Linklater‘s shoestring budget of charged-out credit cards and Slacker mojo.” The Austin Film Society will be celebrating the 20th anniversary with a party, screenings and Q&A’s this coming Wednesday before Linklater and members of his cast and crew receive the Star of Texas Award at the Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards the following day.
Updates: Word’s out that it’ll be Quentin Tarantino who presents that Star of Texas Award.
Meantime, Paddy Johnson in the L: “Those looking for a brief reprieve from contemporary culture may find solace in the New Museum’s 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash, No Star. The show surveys the New York art world in 1993, which as this show tells it, may not be much better than what we’ve got now, but was at least more open about its displeasure with the status quo. It is a raw, imperfect exhibition whose narrative is unusually informed by the route one takes through the museum, and it is worth every minute you can spend on it.”
In other news. The Deutscher Filmpreis will present its Special Award for Outstanding Contributions to German Cinema to Werner Herzog on April 26, reports Berliner Filmfestivals.
The 10th anniversary edition of the True/False Film Fest opens today in Columbia, Missouri. Nearly 40 films will screen through March 3.
Reading. Before and after a trip to Vienna, Luke McKernan rewatched Carol Reed‘s The Third Man (1949), “one of the satisfying films ever made.” He’s “tried to get to the heart of what makes it work so well. It seems to lie in the story, or rather in how it does not rely on the story. What I mean by that is that the film has a plot of almost classical perfection, whose ingenuities transfix us throughout, yet what the film does is constantly to elude the specifics of plot. What is going on is not what we see happen, but how the characters stand outside such circumstance even while they are propelled along by it, perhaps helplessly.” He then explores the question, “What is the real story of The Third Man?”
In the works. “The Weinstein Company has acquired theatrical rights to Salinger, the Shane Salerno-directed feature documentary on the reclusive author of The Catcher in the Rye,” reports Deadline‘s Mike Fleming Jr.