Cannes Film Festival: parity in the jury but not in the selection

HomeCultureCannes Film Festival: parity in the jury but not in the selection

Kenya Nicol

Barbie director Greta Gerwig has been chosen to preside over the Cannes 2024 Film Festival jury. She will be surrounded by other leading female figures from the world of cinema, including Turkish screenwriter Ebru Ceylan, American actress Lily Gladstone, French actress Eva Green and Lebanese director and screenwriter Nadine Labaki. The jury will be made up of five women and four men, with actress Camille Cottin as Mistress of Ceremonies.

Of the 22 films in the running for the Palme d’Or, 4 have been directed by women:

“Bird” by Andrea Arnold

Double news for the British filmmaker. Renowned for her dynamism in social films, she will receive the Carrosse d’Or, awarded each year at Cannes to a director who demonstrates audacity and innovation. And Andrea Arnold will present her new opus, starring the duo Barry Keoghan and Franz Rogowski.

“The substance” by Coralie Fargeat

The Frenchwoman who directed the aptly named “Revenge” in 2018 orchestrates Demi Moore’s return to the forefront for an assertive gore film, with plenty of blood on screen, we’re promised.

“All we imagine as light” by Payal Kapadia

The director films the desires of two women in India, including a Bombay nurse caught up in an arranged marriage.

“Diamant Brut” by Agathe Riedinger

The Frenchwoman’s first film, about the dreams and utopias of a teenager in the dusty sunshine of Fréjus (southern France), lost in the meanders of social networks.

Objective: to exceed the number of 7 women directors in selection

According to statistics from the European Audiovisual Observatory, reported by Le lab des femmes, the proportion of female directors in feature films (fiction) in Europe over the period 2017-2021 stands at 21%.

The issue of parity is not just a challenge for the Cannes Film Festival. The Berlinale, which has been publishing its statistics since 2002, also seems to be struggling to surpass its record of seven female directors in competition. Despite this, there has been an evolution since 2002, when only one film by a female director out of 21 was in competition. In 2023, there were six women directors competing for the Golden Bear, out of 19 films.

In Venice, out of 23 films competing for the Golden Lion in 2022, eight were by women directors. In Cannes in 2012, there were no female directors in competition.

“Quotas still don’t appeal”

“Festivals highlight these issues (gender and diversity, ed. note) but structural problems remain. Black producers have difficulty gaining access to the investment community”, asserted lawyer Heather Rabbatts.

So how can we do better? “Quotas still don’t appeal, even though two countries have been experimenting with a form of hybrid quota since 2021,” explains Fabienne Silvestre. Some countries, such as Austria, have introduced quotas, but without penalties if they are not respected. The United Kingdom, too, has strengthened its quantified targets.

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