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20 Films By Women We Hope to See at Cannes

20 Films By Women We Hope to See at Cannes

The Cannes Film Festival has been notoriously unkind to women. Between enforcing a ludicrous rule prohibiting women from wearing flats on the red carpet, to its usually low number of female directors, Cannes isn’t exactly where we look when we think of equality in cinema. Last year, only two of 19 films in Competition at Cannes were directed by women, and four out of 19 in the Un Certain Regard section.

Hopefully the numbers will be better this time around. Kering is continuing the “Women in Motion” Program this year, and with two women already heading up some of Cannes most prominent juries this year, we can only hope that the film selection, specifically in the competition programs, will also be more inclusive. We put forward this list to help the Cannes selection committee should they again be struggling to find films made by women to include at this year’s fest. #SeeHerNow

Jodie Foster: “Money Monster
While it hasn’t been officially confirmed, it’s all but assured that Foster’s film will screen at Cannes. “Money Monster” focuses on a TV personality, financial guru Lee Gates (George Clooney), who is taken hostage by a viewer (Jack O’Connell, “Unbroken”). Meanwhile, the show’s producer (Julia Roberts) tries to defuse the crisis — which involves a bomb-rigged vest that Lee is forced to wear at gun point. Per the gunman’s request, all of it is televised live.

Andrea Arnold: “American Honey
Arnold’s first two films, “Red Road” and “Fish Tank” screened in competition at Cannes in 2006 and 2009, with both films winning the Jury Prize. “American Honey” follows a teenage girl who joins a traveling magazine sales crew and crosses the midwest. The coming-of-age road movie marks her first American film and stars “Heaven Knows What” breakout Arielle Holmes, Riley Keough from “Mad Max Fury Road” and Shia LaBeouf. 

Ana Lily Amirpour: “The Bad Batch
Amirpour wowed audiences in 2014 with “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,” a so-called Iranian, vampire, spaghetti western. “The Bad Batch” stars Jason Momoa (“Game of Thrones”), Keanu Reeves and Jim Carrey and, according to The Wrap, is “a post-apocalyptic tale set in a Texas wasteland where a community of cannibals reside.” Its described as “a love story about a cannibal known as Miami Man (Momoa) and his food.” 

Nicole Garcia: “Mal de Pierro”
Garcia headlined the Camera d’Or Jury at Cannes in 2014. This film is an adaptation of an Italian novel in which Cannes regular Marion Cotillard “portrays an independent-minded woman during the two decades after the end of World War II.”

Fiona Gordon (with Dominique Abel ): “Lost in Paris”
“Lost in Paris” follows a Canadian woman who heads to the French capitol to track down an aunt who sent her a letter asking for help. The directing pair’s critically acclaimed film “The Fairy” premiered at Cannes in the Directors’ Fortnight in 2011.

Rebecca Zlotowski: “Planetarium
Natalie Portman and Lily-Rose Depp star in this thriller about “sister spiritualists” touring Europe in the 1930s. Zlotowski’s second feature film “Grand Central,” a love story exploring three-way romance between nuclear plant workers, won the François Chalais Prize in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes in 2013.

Justine Triet: “In Bed With Victoria”
Triet’s first feature film, “The Battle of Solferino,” was featured at Cannes in 2013 and was nominated for Best First Film at the César Awards. Written by Triet, “Victoria” tells the story of, “a criminal lawyer who is single and who turns up at a wedding and meets three men there: David, the father of her daughters; Vincent, a friend of hers; and Sam, a former drug dealer who she bailed out. The next day, Vincent is accused of attempted murder by his partner. The only witness at the crime scene was the victim’s dog. Victoria’s limits will be put to the test when she agrees to defend her friend in a trial that seems more absurd than realistic.”

Katell Quillévéré: “The Heart”
Quillévéré’s “Love Like Poison” screened in the Directors’ Fortnight in 2010, winning the Jean Vigo Prize the same year. “Suzanne” played in Critics’ Week in 2013, and received five Césars nominations in 2014. Now the director is tackling her first novel adaptation with “Mend the Living” by Maylis de Kerangal, an organ-transplant drama.

Cate Shortland: “Berlin Syndrome”
Australian director Shorland’s debut feature-length film, “Somersault,” screened in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes 2004. “Berlin Syndrome” is a  psychological drama that follows a backpacking photojournalist (Teresa Palmer, “Warm Bodies”) who is imprisoned by a man in Berlin after a holiday fling. 

Vibeke Idsøe: “The Lion Woman”
This 1920s period piece stars Connie Nielsen and tells the story of a little girl who was born in 1912 with fine yellow hair all over her body, including her face.

Julia Ducournau:  “Raw”
Ducournau shot to fame at Cannes 2011 with the short film “Junior.” “Raw” will straddle the genres of comedy, drama and horror as it tells the story of a young 16-year-old named Justine whose family are veterinary doctors and vegetarians. The synopsis continues, “On her first day at vet school, she dramatically strays from her family principles when she eats meet, and she soon faces unexpected consequences when her true self arises.”

Solveig Anspach: “The Life Aquatic”
The late Icelandic-French filmmaker’s final film follows a crane operator who falls for a swimming instructor. 

Maren Ade: “Toni Erdmann”
The Silver Bear-winner’s father-daughter drama follows “a man who begins to play pranks on his adult daughter after he finds she has become too serious.”

Saara Cantell: “Devil’s Bride”
Inspired by 17th century witch hunts, the film centers on “the passionate Anna [who] falls intensely in love with her friend Rakel’s husband, Elias, however his interest in her lasts shortly. Hurt and jealous Anna decides to get her revenge by falsely accusing Rakel of witchcraft. When Rakel is arrested Anna realizes the seriousness of her actions, but it might be too late.”

Shahrbanoo Sadat: “Wolf & Sheep”
Afghan screenwriter, producer and director Sadat’s first short film “Vice Versa One” was selected at Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes in 2011. In 2013, she opened her own production company “Wolf Pictures” in Kabul. “Wolf & Sheep” is her first feature.

Fanni Metelius: “The Boyfriend”
The “Force Majeure” star is all set for her first feature film with the backing of Swedish art house Garage Films. The debut is said to be about, “a breakup, a sexless relationship and a revolution.”

Katja Wik: “The Ex-Wife”
Another film from a “Force Majeure” alum — “The Ex-Wife” is a production of that film’s producer, Marie Kjellson, and director Wik’s new company Kjellson & Wik

Amanda Kernell: “Sameblod”
The award-winning director of the short film “Northern Great Mountain,” Kernell returns to Sami culture with her first feature, which follows two sisters who run away from their Sami boarding school, their future as reindeer herders and isolated society in the 1930s.

Fien Troch: “Home”
Belgian director Troch is best known for “Someone Else’s Happiness,” which won the Grand Prize at Flanders Film Festival Ghent. “Home” follows the struggle between two generations and the thin lines between trust, friendship and betrayal.

Nathalie Teirlinck: “Tonic Immobility”
Teirlinck’s first feature tells the story of Alice, who “leads a routine life as an escort and dodges social contact. When she’s forced to take care of her son after the death of her ex, her apparent indifference seems to fade away and she gets confronted with her emotional emptiness.”

[Additional info via Screen Daily, THR, Playlist]

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