Days before the 2015 Cannes Film Festival is set to announce its lineup on Thursday, the event has revealed its opening night film: “La Tête Haute,” directed by Emmanuelle Bercot and starring Catherine Deneuve. Astonishingly enough, this marks the first time that the festival has opened with a film directed by a female director since 1987, when Cannes kicked off with Diane Kurys’ “A Man in Love.”
The festival’s choice to not open with a big, starry movie marks a surprising change of pace for the festival that has opened in recent years with “Grace of Monaco” and “The Great Gatsby.” Thierry Frémaux, the director of the festival, acknowledged the shift. “The choice of this film may seem surprising,” he said in a statement. “It is a clear reflection of our desire to see the Festival start with a different piece, which is both bold and moving. Emmanuelle Bercot’s film makes important statements about contemporary society, in keeping with modern cinema. It focuses on universal social issues, making it a perfect fit for the global audience at Cannes.”
The drama tells the story of a juvenile delinquent, Malony, and tracks his upbringing as a children’s judge and social worker try to save him from himself.
Bercot’s history with Cannes dates back to 1997, when her short film, “Les Vacances,” received the Jury Prize. Her 2001 feature debut “Clement” screened in the Un Certain Regard section. She also co-wrote the script for Maïwenn’s “Polisse,” which won the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2011.
The film will world premiere at Cannes on May 13. The festival runs May 13-24.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article relied on information from the official Cannes press release mistakenly stating that this marks the first time in history that a female director has opened the festival. We’ve since made the correction to our story.