40ans_de_jury_oecumenique_a_cannes.pdf May. 2014 - Page 6

FOREWORD........................................................................................................... Dr Julia Helmke President of INTERFILM The presence of Christian juries in Cannes dates back to as early as 1952. OCIC (Organisation catholique internationale de Cinema), founded 1929 in Belgium, was invited by the director of the film festival to participate with their own international jury. Among the first prize winners are films from directors like Vittorio de Sica, Satyajit Ray, Elia Kazan, Robert Bresson, Federico Fellini... The International Protestant Film Organisation INTERFILM, founded in 1955 in Paris, follows suit in 1969 and surprises with its first prize winner: Easy Rider by Peter Fonda. A road movie that can be seen as secular pilgrimage. In 1974, one year after the successful “experiment” of the first ecumenical jury at an A-Festival in Locarno, the director of the Cannes film festival accepts and invites a joint ecumenical jury to Cannes. The jury consists of three Protestants and three Catholics. The strong competition leads the jury decision to take considerable time and effort; they vote time and again yet the result remains unchanged: three to three. The Catholic jury president Georges Rosetti comes to the rescue of the first Ecumenical Prize, casting his second presidential vote in favour of Angst essen Seele auf (Fear Eats the Soul), a social masterpiece by the young German film director Rainer W. Fassbinder. The next award winner is another young film maker: Werner Herzog with Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle (The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser). Before the work of the Ecumenical Jury concludes, the festival and the jury are shaken by a difficult moment in 1976. After lengthy deliberation, the jury refuses to select a film for an award because of the violence seen in many films in the official competition. The Golden Palm winner is Taxi Driver by Martin Scorcese - it is a “cry” as long-standing INTERFILM jury coordinator Maurice Terrail puts it and is unprecedented. Kryzstof Zanussi, winner of a Commendation in 1978, is at the forefront of a very special and precious era of award winners: A look beyond the “Iron curtain”, interest in aesthetic topics and spirituality of directors like Andrzej Wajda, Tenguiz Abouladze or Andrej Tarkowskij. Tarkowskij wins in 1983 (Nosthalgia) and 1986 (Offret) and paves the way for other prize winners who discover spirituality in cinema like Wim Wenders in 1984 with Paris, Texas. Other prize-winning films of the 80s like La historia oficial by the Argentinian Luis Puenzo or A World Apart by the South African director Chris Menges also reflect the political sentiment and awakening of the time and show the seismographic power of the Ecumenical Jury. 6  ...................................................................................................JURY ŒCUMENIQUE