As an influential world figure, prolific actress and producer, Fan Bingbing manages her career in masterful fashion. She won over the hearts of the Chinese with My Fair Princess in 1998 before shining on the big screen and winning awards the world over. Fan Bingbing exported her talent in X-Men: Days of Future Past in 2014, and more recently in The Lady in the Portrait alongside Melvil Poupaud. Cannes discovered her in 2010 In Competition in Chongqing Blues by Xiaoshuai Wang. Now she's back for the Festival's 70th anniversary as a member of the Feature Films Jury, presided by Pedro Almodovar.
What do you find is more intense here at Cannes: representing a film or being a member of the Jury?
With a film, I feel more nervous because my work is being judged by a Jury. Being on a Jury is more relaxing. You get the chance to see the highest quality films from all around the world. My expectations and mood are totally different.
You are an actress and a producer, and you know about making films around the world. How does your experience help you as a member of the Jury?
I’m watching all these films from an Asian perspective. I'm looking at them from another angle, the collision between West and East, like having a third eye of sorts. Only Park Chan-wook and I are from Asia. I just want to find something more in these films that's interesting.
You are very influential in the film industry; you are one of the fresh young voices. In which direction do you want to push Chinese cinema?
The Chinese film industry has been booming over the past few years, and this is linked to the international market. I wish to encourage more young talented directors to make the films they really want to present. Everybody in China knows I’m supporting new pioneering directors. They'll be able to accurately portray a new vision of China. I think they can change the film industry.
How do you feel about the European and American industries coproducing more and more films with China?
I like seeing that the Chinese market is attracting filmmakers from all around the world. In box-office terms, China is the second largest market in the world. The size and quality of the Chinese film market thus gets the attention of producers and filmmakers. This is a fresh start as well as a challenge for us. It will introduce innovation and provide us with a lot of experience.
Is the world film industry too male-oriented?
The world is still the same. At the 70th anniversary gala, I discovered that only one female director has won the Palme d’or in the history of Cannes. This isn't something for me to condemn, however; I find that it inspires me to continue promoting the positive energy offered by the new female filmmakers. We can use our female voice to display the world in different ways.
Tell me about your dreams as an actress. Which directors do you dream about working with?
Pedro Almodovar for sure! I think he’s one of those directors in cinema who can portray female characters perfectly. Almodovar is absolutely one of them.