Michelle Yeoh had some advice for the Cannes jury

Michelle Yeoh had some advice for the Cannes jury

Before Michelle Yeoh was introduced as the guest of honor at the Kering Women in Motion dinner in Cannes, festival director Thierry Frémaux recalled Yeoh’s first visit to Cannes, in 2002, when she was invited to be part of the jury that decided on the Palme d’Or.

Since Yeoh recently navigated an awards season that culminated in her Best Actress Oscar for ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’, I stopped by her table on Sunday to ask her if that trip to Cannes ago. two decades had given him a formative perspective on the presentation of awards.

Yeah illuminated. “We were just having a conversation about it!” she said, referring to her dining companions, including actors Brie Larson and Paul Dano, members of the Cannes jury this year.

Yeoh said that in 2002, shortly after the release of her hit “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, she had no idea what she was getting into when she accepted Frémaux’s invitation to join the jury. “It’s very intense, because you watch two or three movies a day, and the movies aren’t light,” she said. “Sometimes they last three hours and are not always easy to deal with.”

Although her jury president, David Lynch, proved to be a stabilizing force for the group – “David is always calm, and that sets the tone,” she said – the experience of watching movies like Gaspar Noé’s harrowing “Irreversible” and the Holocaust drama “The Pianist” (which won the Palme) were more charged than Yeoh expected: “Two of us felt quite emotional towards the end, where you feel like an artist yourself, you process what you watch and go through this roller coaster.

She expired at the memory. “Phew! It was a bit too emotional. At that time, maybe I was still too young and didn’t have enough experience,” said Yeoh, now 60, “but Since then, I don’t think I have agreed to make another jury.”

Could anything convince her to come back? I launched an enticing hypothesis: what if Frémaux offered her the post of president of the jury?

“If Thierry asks me to do anything, I will,” Yeoh said. “It’s a very simple answer.”

The Kering dinner turned out to be a fun night for the actress, who then got up in her chair to dance with Larson as a saxophonist played nearby. But Yeoh told me the night that meant the most to her recently was a dinner in Hong Kong celebrating her Oscar win, which was attended by some of the Asian film luminaries she debuted with, like Chow Yun-fat. and Donnie Yen.

“The most important thing is that you have to recognize where you come from,” she said. “Coming from Malaysia is one thing, but my career really started in Hong Kong, where I learned the trade and started my journey. So it was important to go back and tell them how much they had meant to me over the years.

They all remained friends, she added, “You know how sometimes you don’t have to call each other every day or see each other all the time if you’re real friends?” She smiled. “You just pick up where you left off.”

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