Cannes Critics’ Week Unveils 2021 Lineup: 13 World Premieres, No U.S. Directors

Each Critics' Week category has approximately 30 percent of films directed by women.
Critics' Week 2021 official poster
Critics' Week 2021 official poster

The Cannes Film Festival’s parallel Critics’ Week section is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2021 with a lineup that is heavy on French talent and nonexistent when it comes to U.S. filmmakers. This year’s Critics’ Week selection includes 13 world premieres, seven of them in competition. As always, Critics’ Week is made of up first and-second time directorial efforts. The selection committee says it received 1,620 short films and watched 1,000 features in 2021. The lineup was selected by Critics’ Week artistic director Charles Tesson and his committee. Each section of the Critics’ Week lineup is made up of about 30 percent of films directed by women.

“The competition is very international and showcases films with many different styles and topics,” Tesson said in a statement (via Variety). “Many films tackle relationships, friendships, family bonds — especially mothers with their children, loved ones we lost, or fighting to get back into our lives.”

Critics’ Week 2021 is opening with Constance Meyer’s “Robust,” starring Gérard Depardieu. The selection makes 2021 the first time since 2014 that Critics’ Week is opening with a movie directed by a French woman. Tunisian filmmaker Leyla Bouzid is closing the section with “A Tale of Love And Desire.” That no U.S. directors were chosen for Critics’ Week is a bit of a shock, considering the section has been a platform for emerging talents over the years such as David Lowery, Jeff Nichols, and more.

Speaking on the lack of U.S. directors, Tesson said, “We didn’t have Sundance and the virtual format isn’t the same as being there, we can’t forge bonds with filmmakers in the same way. Usually we travel a lot and we develop ties over time.”

Romanian director Cristian Mungiu (a Palme d’Or winner for “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days”) is serving as the president of the jury for the Critics’ Week competition. The jury also includes Camélia Jordana, producer Didar Domehri, producer Michel Merkt, and Karlovy Vary artistic director Karel Och.

Cannes Critics’ Week will take place July 7-15. Check out the full lineup of titles below.

Opening Film
“Robuste,” Constance Meyer

Special Screenings
“Anaïs in Love,” Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet
“Bruno Reidal, Confessions of a Murderer,” Vincent Le Port
“Petite Nature,” Samuel Theis
“A Radiant Girl,” Sandrine Kiberlain

Closing Film
“A Tale of Love and Desire,” Leyla Bouzid

In Competition
“Amparo,” Simón Mesa Soto
“Feathers,” Elie Grappe
“Libertad,” Clara Roquet
“The Gravedigger’s Wife,” Khadar Ayderus Ahmed
“Olga,” Omar El Zohairy
“Small Body,” Laura Samani
“Zero Fucks Given,” Julie Lecoustre & Emmanuel Marre

Short Films in Competition
“Brutalia, Days of Labour,” Manolis Mavris
“Lili Alone,” Zou Jing
“An Invitation,” Hao Zhao & Yeung Tung
“Inherent,” Nicolai G.H Johansen
“Intercom 15,” Andrei Epure
“If It Ain’t Broke,” Elinor Nechemya
“Noir-soleil,” Marie Larrivé
“Safe,” Ian Barling
“Soldat noir,” Jimmy Laporal-Trésor
“On Solid Ground,” Jela Hasler

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