Film Festival Fail: Cannes Competition Has Not One Female Director

by Melissa Silverstein on April 15, 2010

in Festivals

In what has now become a depressing ritual, the list of the films in competition at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival — the most prestigious festival in the world — has been revealed and SURPRISE there is not a single female directed film in competition.

Because this is an international festival and it is very hard to tell the gender of the directors from their names I literally take each name and plug it into google to get the answer.

This morning the ritual revealed that out of the 16 films in competition NOT A SINGLE ONE is directed by a woman. (For those of you hoping like I was that Daniele Luchetti is a woman, sorry.)

Women are represented twice in the special screening section:
“Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow,” directed by Sophie Fiennes
“Draquila – L’Italia Che Trema,” directed by Sabina Guzzanti


once in the Un Certain Regard competition (out of 18)
“Pal Adreinn” (Adrienn Pal), directed by Agnes Kocsis

So folks that mean that we have one female director in 34 competition slots. That’s a sucky 2.9%. Unacceptable.

Well at least they put Juliette Binoche on the poster.

Cannes Film Festival Lineup: Godard, Woody, Kitano, Araki, Leigh & More (IndireWIRE)


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Angelina Veritas April 15, 2010 at 5:06 PM

Am fairly certain the selection committee would ASSURE us, they LOVE women…. when they are revealed by males.
This is perhaps not misogyny, or sexism, as much as it is patriarchy, in the sense that women’s work is invisible. not important. not to be taken seriously. not “auteur” worthy. Why are we not seeing Jodie Foster’s ‘The Beaver’ which has been described as brilliant, Gibson’s performance academy worthy. Or Julie Taymor’s ‘The Tempest’ which is being discussed as an elegant masterpiece (the added danger to the patriarchy of Helen Mirren in the role of Prospero/Prospera must have been terrifying…and another academy worthy performance) And what of Sophia Coppola’s new film? They are not on a par with these selections? (Kathryn Bigelow’s ‘Hurt Locker’ was not invited to Cannes last year.) These are the high profile women we KNOW about. Certainly there are others whose names we shall never know because, apaprently, not one woman director on EARTH worthy of being in competition. Not ONE? No woman in Asia, Africa, Europe, the UK, South America… not one? Not even a FRENCH woman!!! And every woman on the competition jury and cinefondation jury is an actress.
It is very sad, and perhaps time to re-think the position in world cinema that Cannes has taken. They are behind the times.
There is time for them to correct this.

Bel April 15, 2010 at 6:33 PM

I actually think it’s a slap in the face that they put a woman on the poster (as much as I love Binoche) – let alone false advertising!

Only one woman has ever won the Palme D’Or: Jane Campion, back in 1993. At this rate, it’ll be another 15 years before any other woman has a shot at it!!

shannon April 16, 2010 at 10:57 AM

I thought The Hurt Locker sold at Cannes, but I just checked. It wasn’t in the festival she must have sold it at the market, yet many of her competitors were in the festival.

Angelina -Excellent point about there being women whose names we will never know, because they are not deemed worthy. Well, no one can accuse the Cannes Film Festival of affirmative action and this is the same group of folks that sent out the infamous petition for Polanski.

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