On Saturday morning,
I woke in my suite at the Hotel des Bains on the Venice Lido, and
stood at the huge window and stared out over the sea in the beautiful,
almost autumnal light. I had a coffee in my room.
I had hardly slept at all during the night. I was president of the
jury at the Venice Film Festival for the first time, and had spent
nine exhilarating days and nights watching 22 films in competition,
and many more others outside competition, and chairing a brilliant
jury who had all been very close, despite our differences. Now I
was coming to the end of a rush of stress and tension.
I felt a bit like Alice in
Wonderland, crossing over to the other side to be part of the people
who look, critique and judge. It was a strange feeling. It taught
me something that in my heart I suppose I already knew - the difference
between an actor who wins and one who doesn't is minuscule. There
are no losers at a festival such as Venice, which is purely devoted
to appreciating good films. There are only winners.
I went downstairs to chair our final jury meeting before the prize
ceremony. It should have been a quick recap of the previous night's
decision-making, but instead it went on for almost two hours. The
one thing we all agreed on very quickly was the winner, the Chinese
film Still Life. There are films that you watch and immediately
know are brilliant, but even so you still have to see how a film
touches you a few days later.
After our jury meeting, I felt ill - I was so exhausted and emotionally
torn that my stomach felt upset and I needed a breather. I took
a boat out to sea by myself, to get some air and revive my spirits.
Then I went into Venice for a few hours. I didn't have time for
lunch, so I just ate an ice cream while walking down the street,
like a little kid. It did me good.
In the afternoon, I spent an hour and a half preparing for the awards
ceremony. Knowing how nervous I would be, I had asked Jean-Paul
Gaultier for a very simple dress. Comfortable heels are also important
in situations such as these. I had been so exhausted in the morning
that, standing in the wings, I didn't have the familiar heart-flutters
I normally get before filming or appearing. After the awards, there
was dinner and drinks until the early hours of Sunday morning.
It was a sad time, too, because I'd spent 10 days bonding with a
jury of people I hadn't known before, such as the Spanish director
Bigas Luña and the American director Cameron Crowe. This
was our final farewell.
On Sunday, I packed and flew back to Paris laden with luggage and
purchases of Venetian blown-glass. Once at home, my plan was to
get back into a normal sleep pattern before shooting starts on my
next film. But, still in Venice mode, it was 3am before I got to