Festival is looking for female directors: in Cannes, the difficult equation of parity

However, like last year – which saw the Frenchwoman Julia Ducournau win the supreme award and become the second award-winning director in history – this 75th edition is not without female directors, especially in the parallel sections.

They are five directors in competition (against four last year) and allow the Festival to reach its record: the actress and director Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, 57, will present The Almond Treesabout the eponymous theater school founded by Patrice Chéreau.

Also in the running for the Palme d’Or, Claire Denis, 76, with Stars at Noonfilmed in Central America.

Another Frenchwoman is in the running for the supreme distinction: Léonor Serraille, born in 1986 and for whom this is the second film, after Young woman. Entitled A little brotherit tells the story of a family with an immigrant background, from the end of the 1980s to the present day.

A great figure in independent cinema, the American Kelly Reichardt, 58, will present Show-Upabout the daily life of an artist played by Michelle Williams.

It will also be necessary to count with the Belgian Charlotte Vandermeersch, 38 years old, for The Eight Mountainsco-directed with Félix Van Groeningen.

Rare parity at film festivals

As for the other major festivals, the question of parity is not obvious either. In September, the Venice Film Festival had selected, in competition, 5 films by female directors out of 21 films.

Only the Berlinale does better: for its edition in February 2022, 7 films out of the 18 in competition were the work of female directors.

As in Cannes, two women – the French Audrey Diwan and the Spaniard Carla Simon – won the prestigious prizes of these festivals.

“The Event”, by Audrey Diwan, won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 2021.

Photo: House 4:3

Progress

The Cannes Film Festival is not just about its Official Selection. Thus, in Critics’ Week, which highlights young directors, of the 11 feature films selected, 5 are directed by women, including Everybody loves Joanby Céline Devaux, with comedian Blanche Gardin.

The same goes for the Directors’ Fortnight, where 11 female directors are selected, for a total of 23 films. Created by the Society of Film Directors in 1969, this section aims to discover the films of young authors and authors and to salute the works of recognized filmmakers.

It will begin this year with the presentation of the traditional Carrosse d’or to Kelly Reichardt. Among the films selected, the long-awaited The Super-8 yearsthe first film by author Annie Ernaux, made with her son David, or the film by Mia Hansen-Løve A nice morningwith Melvil Poupaud and Léa Seydoux.

Annie Ernaux smiles and applauds on a stage.

Annie Ernaux will present the film “The Super-8 Years”, made with her son David, during the Directors’ Fortnight.

Photo: afp via getty images / ULISES RUIZ

If the Official Selection remains the weak link, on the side of the jury, parity is more respected with four women out of nine members. Three times, women outnumbered men (2009, 2014 and 2018).

Moreover, if the president of the jury, Vincent Lindon, is a man, the names of actresses like Penélope Cruz had circulated until the last moment.

Added to this is the appointment as President of the Festival of jurist Iris Knobloch, who will succeed Pierre Lescure in July. She will be the only woman at the head of a major festival.

As for the parallel sections, Ava Cahen took the lead this year in Critics’ Week.

Finally, the Festival gives pride of place to several films and documentaries stirring up subjects related to women such as feminicides or access to abortion, among which Feminist response (Un certain regard), by Marie Perennès and Simon Depardon, or Holy Spiderby Ali Abbasi (in competition).

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Festival is looking for female directors: in Cannes, the difficult equation of parity