Thursday, May 13, 1999 Published at 10:57 GMT 11:57 UK
Judgement starts at Cannes
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury: They have 22 films to watch
The hard work has begun at the Cannes Film Festival in France - with director David Cronenberg's jury judging their first films.
The Canadian film-maker, best known for his controversial movie Crash, leads the ten-strong panel of writers, directors and actors who will be busy rating the 22 films in competition for the Palme d'Or.
His team includes Hollywood stars Jeff Goldblum and Holly Hunter, Babe director George Miller and Swedish opera singer Barbara Hendricks.
Now they have to view up to three films a day to decide who wins the Palme d'Or, as well as a raft of other categories.
David Cronenberg promised he would look after his team in a "casual" manner - especially if a triple bill of films caused them an early start.
He said: "I have heard about those other presidents who wanted all the jury there at 8:30am. I don't function at 8:30am, so I won't be there.
"We will try not to be too harsh on the film that made us get up at 8:30am."
Tim Robbins is the best-known director in competition, with The Cradle Will Rock. British director Peter Greenaway is also in the running with Eight And A Half Women, as is Welcome To Sarajevo director Michael Winterbottom. His entry, Wonderland, is a study of life in London.
Spanish film-maker Pedro Almodovar's Todo Sobre Mi Madre (Everything About My Mother) is also included, as are films from Americans David Lynch and Jim Jarmusch, The Straight Story and Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai.
Chinese director Chen Kaige enters with The Emperor And The Assassin. Chen's Farewell My Concubine won the Palme d'Or in 1993.
First Israeli film in 25 years
The first two films the jury are seeing include Kadosh by Amos Gitai - the first Israeli film to compete at Cannes in 25 years.
Shot largely in an ultra-orthodox Jewish community in Jerusalem, the film examines the lives of two sisters confined to their religious community, and how they try to come to terms with their lives. One rebels, while one settles into the community.
French film Pola X is the other film being viewed by the jury. It has a strong native cast including Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu's son Guillaume.
British film minister Janet Anderson is also visiting Cannes on Thursday. The lack of Hollywood stars at the festival is helping put UK names such as Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta Jones - whose film Entrapment will be the festival's biggest premiere - in the spotlight.
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