British director Andrea Arnold has been named the head of the five-person jury at Cannes Critics Week.
A showcase of 20 films (with 7 in competition), Critics Weeks is devoted to discovering new talent. All participating works are the first or second films by their respective directors.
Arnold is one of the few women to have a storied history at Cannes. She sat on the competition jury at the festival last year and won Critics Week prizes for her 1998 short “Milk” and her first two features (Red Road and Fish Tank). Other winners of the Semaine de la Critique Grand Prize include Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Guillermo del Toro.
Arnold commented, “I was so excited when ‘Milk’ screened in La Semaine de la Critique that I kept crashing into things. When I got home I counted 19 bruises…. I am just as excited about being asked to be president of the jury of the Nespresso Grand Prize for La Semaine de la Critique and I think it might be a good idea to put away the china. I see it as an adventure. I will go into it open. See what and who comes.”
We’re excited for Arnold’s increasing prominence — she is a genuine talent and Fish Tank is a modern classic. But Cannes as an institution has a pretty terrible track record when it comes to gender diversity. Here’s hoping they won’t use Arnold (and this year’s Jury President Jane Campion) as a shield to deflect criticisms of sexism if the festival does not include women directors in all the lineup sections.