Aaaaaaaand they’re off!

The Cannes Film Festival has begun, which means Indiana Jones is suiting up for his first big-screen adventure in twenty years, and a crop of great works of art destined to be almost ignored in America are about to screen for very lucky audiences.

Sean Penn, president of this year’s Cannes Film Festival jury, is already defining how this jury will choose the winner.

Penn said it was impossible to separate film from politics, and promised that the winning film would be a reflection of the current climate.

“One way or another, when we select the Palme d’Or winner, I think we are going to feel very confident that the film-maker who made the film is very aware of the times in which he or she lives.”

This doesn’t sound like “We’re looking for a great work of art.” Instead, this sounds like “We’re looking for someone who reads the newspaper.”

Isn’t this unfair? What if there’s a period piece that’s the next Babette’s Feast*? Will Penn dismiss it because it doesn’t provide any critique of Dubya’s presidency?

Okay, I’m overstating things. But I do hope the jury will be open to the timeless, rather than just the timely.

*Originally, I wrote “Citizen Kane,” but that was a poor example, as pointed out in the comments. I’ve revised it accordingly.

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