I figured since it’s International Women’s Day, a little rant was in order…. Earlier this week, Indiewire published this list of 30 films we hope get into Cannes. When I was reading through the piece before it went up, I realized something: Shit, there was only one film with a female director on the list… Susanne Bier’s “All You Need Is Love.”
Though I’m clearly not a woman, this sort of issue has always been very important to me and I would label myself a considerable feminist in nature and never one to purposely skew something like this to male domination simply because I have a penis. I quickly did some backtracking to make sure I wasn’t missing anyone, but it became clear that Bier was indeed the only female director that had a film seemingly or even somewhat potentially destined for Cannes (save perhaps Brenda Chapman co-directing Pixar’s “Brave”).
We got a few complaints about in this regard, but I stood by my argument: These lists note the generally expected or suspected films to show up at Cannes… Essentially all from established, celebrated filmmakers. The likes of Sofia Coppola, Lynne Ramsay, Claire Denis, Kelly Reichardt, Kathryn Bigelow, Jane Campion, Catherine Breillat, Agnieszka Holland, etc, simply did not have films ready this year. So there wasn’t enough to go off of. It wasn’t our list’s fault. We were simply the messenger: Society is still insanely sexist and women aren’t directing anywhere near as many films as a fair world would warrant.
There’s still hope for this year. Last year, beyond the more established Lynne Ramsay and her “We Need To Talk About Kevin,” Naomi Kawase, Maïwenn and Julia Leigh all showed up rather unexpectedly in Cannes’ competition. So here’s hoping history repeats. But we do have to be careful where we lay the blame. Even with shit like the Oscars, where folks often complain about the lack of female filmmakers making the best director’s lineup. More often than not (but definitely not always — cough, Lynne Ramsay, cough), it’s much less the fault of Oscar voters as it is the greater societal issue facing women in the filmmaking industry.
Not to be such a downer on International Women’s Day… But there’s still clearly a long, long way to go.