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Clouzot to run Critics Week

Selection committee streamlined to four members

PARIS — Claire Clouzot has been appointed artistic director of the Cannes Intl. Film Festival’s Critics Week sidebar, replacing Jose Maria Riba.

Clouzot was tapped Tuesday by members of the French Critics’ Union, along with a streamlined four-member selection committee, two down from previous committees.

Riba, who held the post for just two years, resigned amid disagreement over the direction the sidebar had been taking. His departure came during a particularly acrimonious period for the sidebar’s organization.

Saying “calm has now returned” to the sidebar, Clouzot, who has been on the selection committee for the past two years, described her new role as “a huge responsibility.”

She told Daily Variety: “We are just a small team working without a safety net to come up with seven long and seven short films, plus the two documentary ‘specials.’ ”

But Clouzot appears to have the right credentials for the job. A film critic for respected French radio station France Culture, she has edited numerous books on cinema, including the first book on the French New Wave back in 1963.

She also has helmed three films, including “The Fragile Man” (1981) starring Richard Berry.

Good friends with Cannes Fest prexy Gilles Jacob, Clouzot said she hopes to have “a greater exchange with the festival, and with Directors’ Fortnight.”

She will start prospecting for films during a trip to Mexico, where a 40th-anniversary tribute to Critics Week is being held.

Those helping her choose next year’s pics will be Arno Gaillard, also a member of the selection committee last year; newcomer Karine Cohen, who divides her time between New York and Paris; former selector Sylvain Garel; and Jean Rabinovici, a member of last year’s short film committee.

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