Cannes 2013: Steven Spielberg opens the festival

“I’m looking for a film that will stand the test of time – a film that will be remembered in 10, 20, 30 years from now…”

Steven Spielberg there, President of the Jury for Cannes 2013, outlining his main criteria for choosing which of the 20 Official Competition entries takes home the coveted Palme d’Or. No pressure, then!

Opening the festival this afternoon, Spielberg outlined his ambitions along with his fellow jurors – a fantastically varied (and surprisingly heavyweight) bunch that sees Oscar winners Nicole Kidman, Christoph Waltz and Ang Lee joining forces with French actor/director Daniel Auteuil, Indian actress Vidya Balan, Japanese director Naomi Kawase, Romanian director Cristian Mungiu and, representing the UK, We Need To Talk About Kevin helmer Lynne Ramsay.

“I’d love to work with them all outside of Cannes as well,” enthused Spielberg, who spent last night on the jurors’ private yacht talking movies with his new colleagues (what we wouldn’t give to be a fly on that wall!).

Not that he’ll be a pushover during his time in charge, though… “I’m going to have to watch 12 Angry Men again as a tutorial!” he joked.

“We obviously have diverse tastes… but we’re not afraid of voicing our opinions,” added Kidman, who admitted that the competition was “ultimately just nine people’s opinion”, but that it was also “a platform to celebrate film”.

And talking about the difference between the competition for the Palme d’Or and the American awards season, of which Spielberg is something of a veteran, the Lincoln director seemed relieved that, in Cannes, it’s the movies themselves that do the talking. “There’s no campaigning here,” he chuckled, “ and that’s a breath of fresh air!”

The Official Competition of Cannes 2013 opens tonight with Mexican drug drama Heli, and the winner of the Palme d’Or will be announced at the festival’s closing ceremony next Sunday.

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