Schatzberg, Beart on Tarantino’s jury

Helmer also taps Belgian comic Poelvoorde

PARIS — Helmer Jerry Schatzberg, a Golden Palm winner and Cannes fest veteran, will join prexy Quentin Tarantino’s jury at next month’s Cannes Film Festival.

Schatzberg, who nabbed the fest’s top prize in 1973 for “Scarecrow,” has had movies at Cannes six times.

“I’ve opened the festival, closed it and was there last year for the screening of the restored ‘Scarecrow.’ I guess you could say I’m a regular,” Schatzberg told Daily Variety Tuesday.

Of Tarantino, Schatzberg said, “I’ve only met him once, but we had a very fun evening together — he’s going to add a lot of life to the festival.”

French actress Emmanuelle Beart and Belgian comic actor Benoit Poelvoorde also will be on the jury, according to French daily Le Parisien.

The rest of the jurors’ names will be released today, when organizers announce the fest’s official selection.

However, the possibility that thousands of angry showbiz workers may disrupt this year’s event is as much a talking point as the keenly awaited lineup.

The workers, angry about cuts to unemployment benefits, have pledged to air their grievances at Cannes and other events on France’s summer cultural calendar in what could be a repeat of the mayhem that rocked festivals in Gaul last year.

“The Cannes festival has been taken by surprise, they just weren’t expecting to have to deal with this,” said a Gallic insider.

On Monday protestors besieged Paris’ prestigious theater awards, the Molieres, turning the event turning into a fiasco when technicians laid down their tools in support of their striking brethren. Organizers soldiered on minus microphones and stage lighting.

No one at the Cannes fest would comment Tuesday on fears of similar protests on the Croisette, but organizers will have their answer ready at press briefings Wednesday by fest prexy Gilles Jacob, artistic director Thierry Fremaux and managing director Veronique Cayla.

And Cannes ultimately may be spared the scenes witnessed at other cultural gatherings — including the Avignon theater festival, which was halted last year for the first time in its history.

Temporary workers hired by Cannes and the Palais des Festivals are on short-term contracts that are not hit by the changes. So there is little danger of their staging a sitdown in the middle of a gala screening. And the hard-line communist CGT union’s showbiz branch has a seat on the board of the festival.

(Lisa Nesselson in Paris contributed to this report).

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