Actors Song Kang-ho, Maggie Gyllenhaal in the jury for Cannes Film Festival

Parasite star Song Kang-ho (left) and American actress Maggie Gyllenhaal.
Parasite star Song Kang-ho (left) and American actress Maggie Gyllenhaal.PHOTOS: EPA-EFE

PARIS (AFP) - Parasite star Song Kang-ho, American actress Maggie Gyllenhaal and The Serpent lead Tahar Rahim are part of this year's Cannes Film Festival jury led by director Spike Lee, organisers announced on Thursday (June 24).

It will be a female-majority jury for the July 6 to 17 festival, which has faced criticism in recent years for its lack of female representation.

Only one woman has ever won the Palme d'Or, the top honour at the Cannes Film Festival, in its 73 years: director Jane Campion for The Piano in 1993.

This year's jury will wade through 24 entries (only four by women) to decide the winner of the arthouse world's most coveted film prize.

The nine members include French actor-director Melanie Laurent, 38, best known abroad for her role in director Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds (2009).

The jury also features several international filmmakers: Brazilian Kleber Mendonca Filho, who competed at Cannes in 2016 with Aquarius, Austrian Jessica Hausner, who competed with Little Joe in 2019, and French-Senegalese director Mati Diop, whose debut Atlantique won the Grand Prix the same year.

Song, 54, has appeared in more than 30 films and is a favourite of his fellow South Korean director Bong Joon-ho, who cast him in Snowpiercer (2013) and as the adorable father in Parasite (2019), the last film to win the Palme d'Or in 2019.

Parasite went on to win four awards at the 2020 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Gyllenhaal, 43, broke out alongside her brother Jake Gyllenhaal in the movie Donnie Darko (2001) and made her name with indie hits such as Secretary (2002) and her Oscar-nominated turn in Crazy Heart (2009), as well as appearing in blockbuster Batman flick, The Dark Knight (2008).

French star Rahim, 39, made his name with indie favourite A Prophet (2009) and recently had an award-winning turn in Guantanamo drama The Mauritanian (2021) and a TV hit with BBC-Netflix show The Serpent (2021).

The jury line-up is completed by French singing sensation Mylene Farmer, 59, who has sold 35 million albums across a 35-year career.

They have the pleasure of a bumper crop of entries that promises a stellar year for the world's leading film festival after it was cancelled due to the pandemic last year.

The selection includes films from American favourites Wes Anderson and Sean Penn, previous Palme winners Nanni Moretti, Jacques Audiard and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, as well as Iran's two-time Oscar winner Ashgar Farhadi.