Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Wai has a clear affection for the Cannes Film Festival, and Cannes has long returned his love. Starting in 1997 when Happy Together won Wong best director honors at the Festival, whenever his work appears there it is received with gushing praise. in 2000, In the Mood for Love was a Palme d'Or nominee, and his follow-up to that film, 2046, was recognized in the same way.

Now, though, Cannes has honored the director in an entirely different way: he's been selected to head the jury of this year's Festival. Though I've never full understood exactly how much power a festival's jury chair holds, the appointment is nevertheless both a recognition of Wong and of the rising status of Asian cinema on the world stage. It'll be interesting to see if any of Wong's fingerprints will be discernible when the jury hands out its awards this spring, or if the logic behind them will be just as murky as it usually is.