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Cristian Mungiu to Preside Over Cinefondation, Short Film Jury at Cannes; Monica Bellucci Set to Host

Variety logo Variety 3/21/2017 Elsa Keslassy
© Provided by Variety

Romanian director, screenwriter and producer Cristian Mungiu has been tapped to preside over the Cinéfondation and Short Film Jury of the upcoming Cannes Film Festival, following in the footsteps of Naomi Kawase, Abderrahmane Sissako, Abbas Kiarostami and Jane Campion.

Meanwhile, Italian actress Monica Bellucci will succeed French actor Laurent Lafitte as host of the opening and closing ceremonies of this year’s festival, the event’s 70th edition.

Mungiu, who won last year’s Cannes director prize for his film “The Graduation” (pictured above), served on Steven Spielberg’s competition jury in 2013.

A Cannes favorite, Mungiu won the Palme d’Or with his sophomore outing “4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days.” His “Beyond the Hill” went on to garner screenplay and actress prizes.

“Cristian Mungiu is a glorious member of that Romanian school showcased by Thierry Frémaux in the 2000s,” said Gilles Jacob, president of Cinéfondation. “Just to look at the intelligence and interactive ramifications of a screenplay like ‘Graduation’ is to understand that Cristian is the dream examiner for the big festival exam – the Cinéfondation and the short films.”

Mungiu said that “value and originality have never achieved easy recognition in the cinema. And it’s even harder to recognize the value and originality of very young directors. But the Cinéfondation is known for having succeeded in doing just that to great effect.”

“The Cinéfondation has always given young directors the help and recognition they needed at the very outset of their career, so that they could express themselves with courage and find their own voice. Long may that continue to achieve the same impact. It’s an endeavour in which I’m proud to be playing a part,” Mungiu added.

Bellucci previously hosted the festival’s opening and closing ceremonies in 2003 and served on the competition jury presided over by Wong Kar Wai in 2006.

Bellucci, who was last in Cannes with Alice Rohrwacher’s “The Wonders,” which won the Grand Jury prize in 2014, stars in the third season of David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” and the second season of the Golden Globe-winning series “Mozart in the Jungle.”

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