Though the Cannes Film Festival made some additions to its Competition, Un Certain Regard and special screenings this morning, absolutely zero of them are films made by women. So we turn instead to the selections for its Cannes Classics sidebar, which, through its documentary section, ironically highlights just how involved women are in the film industry and the history of the medium.
Films by or about women are most represented in the documentary section, which specifically focuses on films that explore filmmaking or revisit cinema. Out of nine documentaries, five are female-directed or co-directed. Highlights of the section include “Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds,” a documentary co-directed by Alexis Bloom exploring the lives of the famous mother-daughter acting duo. “Women Who Run Hollywood,” helmed by Clara and Julia Kuperberg, examines the almost-forgotten women of the early silent era and golden age of cinema such as Lois Weber, Mary Pickford and Dorothy Arzner. The rest of the documentaries made by women are listed below, synopses courtesy of the Cannes Film Festival.
Nine Documentaries About Cinema
“The Cinema Travelers” by Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya (2016, 1h36, India): The portrait of a traveling movie theater in India, which continues to bear the magic of the images to a stunned audience, is faced with technological, numerous and complex changes. A projector repairman narrates film changes with poetry, philosophy and pragmatism.
“Midnight Returns: The Story of Billy Hayes and Turkey” by Sally Sussman (2016, 1h39, USA): The story of the film “Midnight Express” by Alan Parker (1980) as told by those who made it: director Alan Parker, screenwriter Oliver Stone and producer David Puttnam. In parallel the real protagonist Billy Hayes discusses his personal journey and how his life has changed. Turkey, the image and the diplomatic relations of which were affected by the film, gives its point of view, as Billy Hayes tries to go back there to rebuild broken links.
“Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds” by Alexis Bloom and Fisher Stevens (2016, 1h35, USA): The life and intimate relationship of two actresses: Carrie Fischer, the heroine of “Star Wars,” and Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds who starred in “Singing in the Rain.” The big story and the small story unfold before our eyes. A tender documentary on two golden ages of American cinema.
“Et La femme créa Hollywood (Women Who Run Hollywood)” by Clara and Julia Kuperberg (2015, 52mn, France): Exploring the exciting stories of Lois Weber, Mary Pickford and Dorothy Arzner, we discover a passionate gallery of pioneers who also created Hollywood. What do they have in common? They are all women and they have all been almost forgotten.
“Bernadette Lafont et Dieu créa la femme” by Esther Hoffenberg (2016, 65mn, France): A journey with Bernadette Lafont, the most atypical French film actress. The film sweeps her life and stunning artistic career. Her granddaughters go back to Bernadette’s dreams and her friends Bulle Ogier and Jean-Pierre Kalfon evoke their artistic and human complicity. Throughout the film Bernadette Lafont with her unmistakable voice of character actress weaves the movie of her life.
[via Cannes Film Festival]