Female directors attack Cannes over all-male Palme d’Or shortlist

A group of well-known women filmmakers have spoken out against this year’s list of Palme d’Or nominees, which consists entirely of films by male directors.

In an article published in French newspaper Le Monde by directors Virginie Despentes and Coline Serreau and actress Fanny Cottonçon, the trio took festival organisers to task over the lack of representation of women amongst the nominees for Cannes’ most prestigious prize. Feminist group La Barbe, which was behind the initiative, simultaneously launched an online petition, which had more than 1,000 signatures two days later.

Employing a sarcastic tone, the article begins:

“The directors of the 22 films in competition this year are all, by happy coincidence, men. For the 63rd time in its existence, the festival will crown one of its own, defending without fail the virile values which are the nobility of the seventh art.”

Alluding to the names of those male directors in contention this year, the piece continues:

“The Cannes Film Festival will allow Wes, Jacques, Leos, David, Lee, Andrew, Matteo, Michael, John, Hong, Im, Abbas, Ken, Sergei, Cristian, Yousry, Jeff, Alain, Carlos, Walter, Ulrich and Thomas to show one more time that 'men like depth in women, but only in their cleavage.”'

Cannes director Thierry Fremaux has responded to the article with a statement denying the accusations. Fremaux said:

“As a citizen, I fully support feminist activism, as a professional, I select work on the basis of it actual qualities. We would never agree to select a film that doesn’t deserve it on the basis it was made by a woman. That would lead to a quota policy that would undermine the cause.”

For more on this story, please visit the Screen website here.