Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu is making history at the 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival by becoming the first Latin American person to ever be named president of the jury at the French Riviera's annual event since the festival began in 1946. Despite Cannes’ tepid relationship to Latin American cinema—at least in terms of the number of Latin American filmmakers that have participated in the festival’s main competition—thirty-three Latin American directors, actors, writers and historians have served on the Cannes Jury.
Mexico comes in first as the Latin American country to contribute the most Cannes’ jurors, boasting a total of twelve. In addition to González Iñárritu, director Guillermo del Toro (2015), actor Gael García Bernal (2014), director Alfonso Cuarón (2008), actress Salma Hayek (2005), Spanish-born film historian Emilio García Riera (1995), writer Carlos Fuentes (1977), actor/politician Rodolfo Echeverría (1973), actor Pedro Armendáriz (1961), actress Dolores del Río (1957), director Luis Buñuel (1954) and playwright Rodolfo Usigli (in the inaugural 1946 edition) have all participated in the festival.
Brazil has participated with seven jury members, including director Walter Salles (2002), Argentine-born director Héctor Babenco (1989), writer Jorge Amado (1985), actress Sonia Braga (1986), director Carlos Diegues (1981), director/actor Anselmo Duarte (1971), and musician Vinicius de Moraes (1966).
Six Argentines have participated on the jury including actress Martina Gusmán (2011), director Lucrecia Martel (2006), musician Lalo Schifrin (1994), director Héctor Babenco (1989), director Héctor Olivera (1988), and poet and screenwriter Ulyses Petit de Murat (1960).
From these numbers it's apparent that Cannes has had a penchant for Latin American writers: in addition to Mexico’s Carlos Fuentes and Brazil’s Jorge Amado, the French festival has also hosted on their jury such literature luminaries as Cuba’s Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Peru’s Mario Vargas Llosa, and Colombia’s Gabriel García Márquez.
The complete list of Latin American jurors throughout the seventy-two editions of the Cannes Film Festival as follows:
Alejandro González Iñarritu, Mexican filmmaker, 2019
Guillermo del Toro, Mexican filmmaker, 2015
Gael García Bernal, Mexican actor and filmmaker, 2014
Raoul Peck, Haitian filmmaker, 2012
Martina Gusmán, Argentine actress, 2011
Benicio del Toro, Puerto Rican actor, 2010
Alfonso Cuarón, Mexican filmmaker, 2008
Lucrecia Martel, Argentine filmmaker, 2006
Salma Hayek, Mexican actress, 2005
Raúl Ruiz, Chilean filmmaker, 2002
Walter Salles, Brazilian filmmaker, 2002
Zoé Valdés, Cuban writer and filmmaker, 1998
Emilio Garcia Riera, Mexican historian, 1995
Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Cuban writer and film critic, 1994
Lalo Schifrin, Argentine musician, 1994
Héctor Babenco, Argentine-Brazilian filmmaker, 1989
Héctor Olivera, Argentine filmmaker, 1988
Néstor Almendros, Cuban cinematographer, 1985
Jorge Amado, Brazilian writer, 1985
Sonia Braga, Brazilian actress, 1986
Gabriel García Márquez, Colombian writer, 1982
Carlos Diegues, Brazilian filmmaker, 1981
Carlos Fuentes, Mexican writer, 1977
Mario Vargas Llosa, Peruvian writer, 1976
Rodolfo Echeverría, Mexican actor/politician, 1973
Anselmo Duarte, Brazilian filmmaker and actor, 1971
Vinicius de Moraes, Brazilian poet and musician, 1966
Pedro Armendariz, Mexican actor, 1961
Ulyses Petit de Murat, Argentine poet and screenwriter, 1960
Dolores del Río, Mexican actress, 1957
María Romero, Chilean journalist, 1956
Luis Buñuel, Mexican filmmaker, 1954
Rodolfo Usigli, Mexican playwright, 1946