George Miller to preside the Cannes jury
The Australian filmmaker and scriptwriter George Miller, recently nominated as jury president for the 69th Cannes Film Festival, is a former physician, famous for directing the “Mad Max” saga, and who played a pivotal role in the revival of Australian cinema.
The 70-year-old director has explored film genres as varied as animal stories (“Babe”), drama (“Lorenzo’s Oil”) and animation (“Happy Feet”). Miller is the first Australian to preside the Cannes film festival.
the road to international success
The Mad Max saga kicked off in 1978, setting himself and a moody little-known Mel Gibson on the road to international success. At the time, he explained that the series plays on the codes of the road movie, the Western and science fiction. He also cites his rural childhood in the State of Queensland, where the inhabitants are very interested in cars.
“It’s when I became a physician and saw the carnage caused by car and motorcycle accidents that I began to be inhabited by the subject,” he told Australia Screen Online in 2006.
Miller eventually abandoned his medical career to devote himself to cinema with successful films such as “The Witches of Eastwick” (1987), starring Jack Nicholson, Cher and Susan Sarandon. This is hardly your average career path for getting into movies. Miller has nonetheless managed to steer his career away from exploitative movies into more ambitious fields.
“…a silent movie, with sound”
The latest installment of the Mad Max franchise, “Fury Road”, with Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy in the main roles, played out of competition at the last Festival de Cannes (2015). He received 10 Oscar nominations, including in the category “best film” and “Best Director”.
It illustrates his mastery of the visual form. “”I’m always interested as to how film language is evolving,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald in October 2015. “It’s an acquired language. It basically laid down its syntax in the silent era. In many ways Mad Max is a silent movie with sound.”
George Miller also collaborated with success on Australian television with such series as “The Dismissal”, “Bangkok Hilton” and “Bodyline”. He considers himself a storyteller more than anything else. “I’m pretty well hard-wired for story. Out of habit now, stories are playing in my head all the time.”
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