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The Cannes Film Festival took place from May 16 to 27 May 2023, and as per usual, the Ecumenical Jury was an active participant throughout the events of this prestigious festival. The Ecumenical Jury is composed of two international organizations, SIGNIS and INTERFILM, who play a vital role in organizing and supporting films and their creators.
On May 24th, the jury had the opportunity to attend the screening of "The Passion of Dodin Bouffant" by Trần Anh Hùng, featuring renowned actors Juliette Binoche and Benoit Magimel. Additionally, early risers were treated to the enigmatic universe of Wes Anderson with his film "Asteroid City." Between these two screenings, the jury's schedule was brimming with activities.
As is customary every year, the Mayor of Cannes, David Lisnard, invited the jury to the Town Hall for a warm and cordial exchange. During this gathering, Mayor Lisnard reaffirmed his deep appreciation for the jury's work throughout the festival, emphasizing the importance of their mission. He highlighted their commitment to shining a light on films that question and uphold the essential values that form the foundation of our society.
Instead of walking the red carpet, the jury made their way up the steps to the Suquet, where they participated in the Aioli, a lunch offered by the town hall to the press. Amidst lively discussions on cinema, they had the opportunity to enjoy the exceptional view overlooking the bay of Cannes. Furthermore, the jurors gladly responded to interviews, sharing their insights and reflections.
At the end of the afternoon, the Ecumenical Jury attended the Ecumenical Ceremony at the Église de Notre-Dame de Bon Secours. This gathering fostered a sense of fraternity among the faithful from diverse Christian traditions, reminding believers of their shared responsibility towards peace, justice, and reconciliation in the world.
In addition to their active participation in film screenings and the ecumenical ceremony, the Jury organized a special exhibition at the Église Notre-Dame de Bon Voyage. This exhibition showcased the posters of all the films that have been honored with the Ecumenical Jury's award since their presence with the Cannes Film Festival began. Over the years, the jury has distinguished outstanding works that tackle pressing social issues, promote dialogue, and inspire viewers to reflect on their role in building a more just and compassionate world, films like A Hidden Life by Terrence Malick (2019) and Mia Madre by Nanni Moretti (2015). The exhibition served as a powerful testament to the rich history and longstanding commitment of the Ecumenical Jury in recognizing films that explore and illuminate the essential values of our society.
As this magnificent edition of the Cannes Film Festival drew to a close, Monique Beguin, President of SIGNIS-Cinema, affirmed:
“Cinema is life, it encompasses joy, laughter, tears, astonishment, and disapproval. Through cinema, we can experience life vicariously, identify with characters, find our calling, and, above all, dream. We won't give you a moral lesson or a civics class. We acknowledge that our society faces numerous challenges, and the ecumenical prize, through its film selections and forward-looking criteria, brings us a sense of humanity and hope for a better world”.
The Ecumenical Jury's participation in the Festival de Cannes has been yet again a significant contribution to the celebration of cinema, highlighting works that provoke meaningful discussions and resonate with audiences worldwide. As the curtains close on this edition of the festival, the impact of the ecumenical prize remains, reminding us of the power of film to transcend boundaries, bridge cultures, and foster understanding among diverse communities.