CANNES REPORT 2016 - "Hollywood is scared to give women directing roles" - Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster strikes a Dorothy Arzner* pose in 1991
(the only women directing in Hollywood in the 1920's, 30's and early 40's)

By Moira Sullivan

The Cannes Film Festival this year features a poster of a man walking up the steps of a building facing the Mediterranean. It is based on stills from Jean-Luc Godard’s 1963 classic Contempt, starring Jack Palance, a Hollywood producer who hires Fritz Lang to direct an adaptation of The Odyssey. He also hires a screenwriter (Michel Piccoli) to rework the script, but Piccoli’s wife his (Brigitte Bardot) sporting a black wig evoking Godard’s wife Anna Karina starts picking fights with him.
The poster although basking in yellow light lacks the 'personality' of previous festival icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Ingrid Bergman. The quotidian—daily schedules - are color schemed in red and gold unlike those of last year that each had a still from one of Bergman’s films.
There are as usual only two women in the official lineup this year—and one of them is Andrea Arnold whose film "American Honey" is the most stunning film I have seen to date at this festival. A caravan of young people travel to wealthy or poor neighborhoods to milk the residents for phony magazine subscriptions. As a sort of Fagan, Jake (Shia LaBeouf) recruits Star, Sasha Lane, a new comer that Arnold approached on her trip to the US, to sell magazine subscriptions. Jake is the current beau of the troop leader Krystal (Riley Keough) and shares her motel room when on the road. Several references to death are kept in regard, such as that "Star" is name for the Death Star in Star wars. The film is extraordinary in its editing and use of camera. The road trip is also a trip for the camera. It is exceedingly well made. The youth are often referred to as "wild" and there are lots of shots of animals in the film, tame yet wild creatures—humans, a brown bear, bees, turtles, and dogs.
Every day the trade magazines rate the new films written by English and French critics – such as Screen and Le Film Fran├žais. All of the critics are men, and a film about a young woman’s journey does not seem to appeal to them so far. Fortunately, they do not vote for the Palme d’or.
This year as last there have been several "Kering Talks" arranged by the luxury accessory firm in a small room for maybe 50 people at Hotel Majestic. Jodie Foster was the first who is here in Cannes to promote her out of competition film "Money Monster" starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts. Foster calls it a "thinking film" with real content.  She also said at her Kering talk that Hollywood was scared to give women directing roles. It’s all about the money - 'the Money Monster'—and since the 1920s men have seen that money is to be made from film and have kicked out the women strategically working in the industry - as evidenced by a powerful documentary made by Kulberg –And Woman created Hollywood Kuperberg. We learn that Frances Marion trained Charlie Chaplin and that women who worked in Hollywood were chosen because of their seamstress skills and first worked as editors.
There are five days left to the festival and vast amount of films to watch and think about. So far I have seen the film that has made this festival --American Honey.

© Airdate - 2016 - Moira Sullivan- Air Date: 05/17/16
Movie Magazine International