Cannes 2016 still short on women directors Back


 69th Festival de Cannes

Cannes line-up looks as male-dominated as ever.

After last year's flatgate and so many comments on the insufficient attention paid to women in creative roles, we had hoped that the world's most prestigious film festival would make a change in 2016. We were wrong. Among 1,869 features submitted, apparently only 3 female directors made the grade. A scanty 15% of the films announced (3 out of 20 in the Official Competition) are directed by women.

Only Andrea Arnold's (her 3rd time in the official competition after the Jury Prizes for "Red Road" and "Fish Tank") "American Honey", "Mal de Pierres" by Nicole Garcia (also her 3rd film as director selected in competition) and Maren Ade's "Toni Erdman" could make it to the final selection. Jodie Foster's "Money Monster" will be screened out of competition.

Un Certain Regard does include an additional four women directors, though two of them are associated with one project. Sister filmmakers Delphine and Muriel Coulin's "The Stopover," which stars Greek actress Ariane Labed, focuses on a pair of female soldiers returning from Afghanistan. The other women filmmakers in the section are newcomers Maha Haj ("Omar Shakhsiya," from Israel), and Stephanie Di Giusto ("The Dancer," France). 

We hope that in the next edition the most prestigious festival in the world will promote a changed message - that women's talent and creativity are welcome and sought for - allowing us to enjoy more diversity in films.

In the meantime, at least we can enjoy many women-centered films such as:

Aquarius” by Kleber Mendonca Filho). Brazil starring Sonia Braga a retired, widowed music writer, who also time travels.

Elle” (Paul Verhoeven, Netherlands). Isabelle Huppert plays a top exec for a video-game company.

American Honey” (Andrea Arnold, U.K.). Starring Sasha Lane, Shia LaBeouf and Riley Keough.

From the Land of the Moon” (Nicole Garcia, France). A book adaptation which stars Marion Cotillard.

Toni Erdmann” (Maren Ade, Germany).  The first German to compete since Wim Wenders in 2008. Ade's third feature stars Peter Simonischek as a father convinced that his daughter (Sandra Huller) has lost her sense of humor, so he drops in on her in Bucharest and unleashes a series of jokes.  

The Handmaiden” (Park Chan-wook, S. Korea). A female pickpocket aligns with a con man to seduce and scam a wealthy Japanese heiress.

Julieta” (Pedro Almodovar, Spain). Inspired by a trio of stories by Nobel winner Alice Munro, Julieta is a celebration of a strong (yet depressed) female protagonist stars Adriana Ugarte and Emma Suarez, who split the title role over the span of more than 30 years. This is the “All About My Mother” director's fifth film in competition.

Personal Shopper” (Olivier Assayas, France). Kristen Stewart is an American woman working as personal shopper for a celebrity.

The Unknown Girl” (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Belgium).  Adele Haenel (“Love at First Fight”) alongside regulars Jeremie Renier and Olivier Gourmet in this story of a young doctor investigating the identity of a patient who died after being refused treatmen

The Neon Demon” (Nicolas Winding Refn, Denmark). A style-drenched horror movie in which Elle Fanning plays a young model preyed upon by jealous rivals.

It's Only the End of the World” (Xavier Dolan, Canada). Again starring Marion Cotillard alongside Lea Seydoux and Vincent Cassel.

Graduation,” (Cristian Mungiu, Romania). A Palme d'Or winner for “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,”

I, Daniel Blake” (Ken Loach, U.K.). centers on an injured carpenter and single mother struggling to get by on welfare.

The Last Face” (Sean Penn, U.S.).  This drama stars Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem as aid workers who fall in love against the backdrop of war-torn Liberia.

Loving” (Jeff Nichols, U.S.). Civil rights drama starring Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga as an interracial couple in 1958 Virginia.

Ma' Rosa” (Brillante Mendoza, Philippines). Little information known so far about the fourth entry in Cannes from this prolific Filipino auteur.

Paterson” (Jim Jarmusch, U.S.).  6th time of Jarmusch competing for the Palm d'or Paterson, a blue-collar bus driver who lives in New Jersey.

Sierra-Nevada” (Cristi Puiu, Romania). A newcomer to the main competition after premiering former films in Un Certain Regard.

Slack Bay” (Bruno Dumont, France). starring Fabrice Luchini and Juliette Binoche in the dreary corner of northern France during the summer of 1910.

Staying Vertical” (Alain Guiraudie, France). About a film director who raises his young son alone, graduates to competition.


Cannes 2016 still short on women directors
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