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Four Steps Back - NO Women Directors in Competition at Cannes

Women and Hollywood By Melissa Silverstein | Women and Hollywood April 19, 2012 at 7:18AM

I'm sitting in my hotel room in Cologne, Germany having arrived yesterday at International Frauen Film Festival for the second year in a row.  I came back this year because I had such a great time last year meeting and talking with so many women directors and I really love the people who run this festival.
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No women allowed 3

I'm sitting in my hotel room in Cologne, Germany having arrived yesterday at International Frauen Film Festival for the second year in a row.  I came back this year because I had such a great time last year meeting and talking with so many women directors and I really love the people who run this festival.

Last year I also sat in my hotel room when the Cannes lineup was revealed and I was happily shocked when four women directed films were included in competition.  And you will note that when the Festival happened people talked about the women and their work.  It wasn't just about a woman.  It was about the work.  That's what happens when you get to some level of critical mass.  Several of the films especially We Need to Talk About Kevin were released all over the world and Lynne Ramsay won a ton of respect for her effort on the film.  Maiwenn's Polisse is now about to play at Tribeca and it will be released in the US in May.  Would this have happened without Cannes?  I can't answer that but her film's profile was clearly raised because of the Festival.

But this year we are back to two years ago when no women were included.  NO WOMEN DIRECTED FILMS WILL BE IN THE MAIN COMPETITION AT CANNES.  That is ZERO out of 21.  Two women directed films out of 17 films -- Trois Mondes (dir. Catherine Corsini) and Confession of a Child of the Century (dir. Sylvie Verheyde) -- are in Un Certain Regard. 

Cannes is the most prestigious world competition and to have no female directors is just a slap in the face.  I cannot believe there were no films worthy of inclusion.  I just don't believe it.  The whole process is fucked up that women can't even get into the conversations about films that people are even thinking about will be included in lineups. 

For an industry that professes to examine questions about life, that challenges conventions, that pushes the envelope, the total neanderthal approach to women is breathtaking.  How can this industry say it is progressive or forward thinking in any way when it constantly shunts aside the perspectives of half of the world.

This article is related to: Sexism, Women Directors, Maiwenn, Lynne Ramsey, Cannes Film Festival


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