Well I guess there will be no petition or protests this year because the folks at Cannes have picked a single female directed film to compete in the main competition for this year’s festival. That’s better news than last year, but it’s still doesn’t make me happy. It’s not enough. There are 19 films in the main competition and 1 is directed by a woman. That’s a little over 5%. Even Hollywood did better last year with women directing 9% of the films.
I’m trying to process the message it sends when there are six female directed films in Un Certain Regard which we all know is the less important competition category with its own jury. Should we think that Claire Denis was just oh so close but couldn’t cut it?
And about Sofia Coppola…
She is one of only four women nominated for a best director Oscar. Her last film Somewhere won The Golden Lion at Venice. That she is not in the main competition is shameful. Let’s compare her to James Gray whose film The Immigrant has had people salivating over even while it was filming here in Brooklyn. He made the competition. Yes, he is clearly a talented filmmaker. His first film Little Odessa won the Silver Lion at Venice. His last film — We Own the Night — played at Cannes in 2007. But Sofia Coppola has won many more major awards and has won an Oscar.
For me the message is again that the Cannes Film Festival is about what these guys like. And they like the guys. As a programmer myself, I understand how programming works. It’s all about taste. But when you are a festival that has the status of Cannes and gets the press that Cannes does your choices send a message. I saw this tweet this morning from the press conference when festival director Thierry Fremaux was asked about why there was only one woman director. His response was that was “that the best films got in blames “slight” unbalance in the industry.”
And that “slight” unbalance in the industry may be the biggest fucking understatement of the year.
Here are the women:
Un Chateau En Italie, directed by Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi
Un Certain Regard:
Bends, directed by Flora Lau
The Bling Ring, directed by Sofia Coppola (opening film)
Grand Central, directed by Rebecca Zlotowski
Miele, directed by Valeria Golino
Les Salauds, directed by Claire Denis
Sarah Prefere La Course, directed by Chloé Robichaud