Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the Mexican director of the Oscar winners “Birdman” and “The Revenant,” will lead this year’s Cannes Film Festival jury, the festival said in a statement.
Iñárritu, who has twice won the Academy Award for best director, will be the first Mexican to be president of the jury in the festival’s 72-year history. Last year’s jury president was Cate Blanchett.
In a statement, Iñárritu said, “Cannes is a festival that has been important to me since the beginning of my career.” He added that “Cinema runs through the veins of the planet and this festival has been its heart.”
Iñárritu has a long history with the festival. His first film, “Amores Perros,” had its premiere at Cannes in 2000 and won immediate acclaim for its interweaving of three tales.
“It’s rare that a director can enter films with this much verve and emotional understanding,” Elvis Mitchell wrote in The New York Times. “In his very first film Mr. González Iñárritu makes the kind of journey some directors don’t, or can’t, travel in an entire career.”
In 2006, Iñárritu won Cannes’ best director award for “Babel,” and in 2017 he created a virtual-reality installation for the festival, “Carne y Arena” (“Flesh and Sand” in English),which was the first such work to be included in Cannes’ Official Selection.
“Cannes embraces all types of cinema,” Pierre Lescure, president of the festival, said in a statement, “and through the presence of ‘Babel’s’director, it is Mexican cinema that the festival will be celebrating.”
“Not only is he a daring filmmaker and a director who is full of surprises, Alejandro is also a man of conviction, an artist of his time,” Lescure added.
This year’s festival runs from May 14-25.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.