Tim Burton on the set of Corpse Bride, Photo credit: Derek Frey
This is really Tim Burton's year: first with his MoMA exhibition, then the March release of his 3D Alice in Wonderland, and now the announcement that he will head up the Cannes Jury panel. Granted, the Cannes Jury Prez doesn't actually choose the movies that will be seen at Cannes -- tant pis! -- but his presence will surely affect what prizes are given out, whether for better or for worse. The real question is what he will lean towards, which will become even more a topic of discussion once the festival films are announced.
As Guy Lodge at InContention notes, "Following this announcement, some will try to draw convenient conclusions about what type of films now have an advantage in this year's competition. But while the jury president can certainly exert a lot of influence on the race -- it's widely assumed Isabelle Huppert tipped the balance towards her former collaborator Michael Haneke last year, while Tarantino openly favored Fahrenheit 9/11 in 2004 -- a safer rule of thumb, particularly when a filmmaker is in charge, is that the winning film will have little in common with the president's own oeuvre."
Meanwhile, the festival president Gilles Jacob told Variety, "He's a magician of visual delights who turns the screen into a faery wonder. We hope his sweet madness and gothic humor will pervade the Croisette, bringing Christmas to all. Christmas and Halloween." So perhaps we can hope for a little strangeness among the bronzed beauties and paparazzi this year.
Either way, this is a real feather in the cap for a filmmaker who was once an introverted artist growing up in ultra-suburban Burbank.