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Cannes Books Second Opener Directed by a Woman

Cannes Books Second Opener Directed by a Woman

The Cannes Film Festival is clearly addressing criticism that it has not brought enough women directors into the rarified auteur fold. “La Tête haute,” directed by Frenchwoman Emmanuelle Bercot, was not on most fest observers’ radar. Cannes’ director Thierry Frémaux often goes with a big name for the opener for the 68th edition of the Festival de Cannes in the Grand Théâtre Lumière (Wednesday May 13), but there is also a tradition of opening with a French entry. The movie starring red carpet favorite and one-time Cannes jury president Catherine Deneuve opens wide in France the same day. 
“The choice of this film may seem surprising, given the rules generally applied to the Festival de Cannes Opening Ceremony,” said Frémaux. “It is a clear reflection of our desire to see the Festival start with a different piece, which is both bold and moving.”
Actress-director Bercot is no stranger to the Croisette. Her 1997 short film “Les Vacances” won the Cannes Jury Prize. She starred in her 2001 debut feature “Clément,” which played, as many films directed by women tend to do, in Un Certain Regard. She has also directed for French television. “La Tête haute” is her fourth feature film. The fest has yet to decide whether it will play in or out of Competition. The announcement of the Official Selection is expected on Thursday morning. 

Read More: 5 ways for Cannes to Improve Its Old-Fashioned Lineup, Plus Top Contender Lists

Filmed in the Nord-Pas de Calais, Rhône-Alpes and Paris area regions, “La Tête haute” follows a juvenile delinquent (Rod Paradot) from cradle to adulthood, as people including a children’s judge and social worker try to save him. Benoît Magimel and Sara Forestier costar. 

Written by Bercot and Marcia Romano, “La Tête haute” was produced by Les Films du Kiosque and co-produced by France 2 Cinéma, French distributor Wild Bunch, Rhône-Alpes Cinema and Pictanovo with the participation of Nord-Pas de Calais Region. Elle Driver is selling the film in Cannes. 

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