72nd Cannes Film Festival features young Agnès Varda as official poster

 Twenty six year old Agnès Varda shooting first feature La Pointe Courte (1955).

By Moira Sullivan

The 72nd Cannes Film Festival opened on May 14 by Edouard Baer, Master of Ceremonies. Excerpts from films made by Agnès Varda who died earlier in March were projected. Varda is featured on the poster for the festival with a young Agnès standing on a stool to shoot her first feature film La Pointe Courte (1955).

The feature film jury this year is composed of US director Kelly Reichardt, US actress Elle Fanning, Maimouna N’Diaye director from Burkina Fazo, Italian director Alice Rohrwacher, French directors Enki Bilal, Robin Campillo, Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos and Paweł Pawlikowski director from Poland - presided over by this year's jury President: Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu.

The first screening of the official competition followed the ceremony directed by Jim Jarmusch, The Dead Don’t Die starring Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Chloë Sevigny, Selena Gomez, Sara Driver and Luka Sabbat. This lukewarm film about the undead who rise from their graves in Centerville opens in French theatres May 15.

Last year Agnès Varda was one of 82 women protesting the lack of female authorship in the official selection. This has not changed despite a movement called "5050 by 2020" – half women - half men to work in global film industries by next year.  In fact, 26% of the feature films submitted to be part of the Cannes official selection have been directed by a woman.

This year there are 20 female directors in the Official Selection:
- 4 are in the official selection
- 8 in Un Certain Regard
- 3 Special Screenings are about women
- 5 are in the Short Films Competition

These figures have doubled from 2018 with 11 female directors.
Of course it makes a difference that women direct films. Their subjects and their filmmaking style are different but not having a spot at Cannes in the official competition means that women will remain at 25% of the filmmakers for some time. 

Many of the directors at Cannes this year are top well known names but alas 19 men including Pedro Almodóvar , Marco Bellocchio, Bong Joon Hon, Jean-Pierre Dardenne and his brother Luc Dardenne , Arnaud Desplechin, Xavier Dolan , Abdellatif Kechiche, Ken Loach Terrence Malick, Elia Suleiman, Quentin Tarantino --- and two women - Jessica Hausner and Céline Sciamma.

This year there will be four master classes with actors and directors – one of  is Alain Delon who will be awarded an honorary Palme d'Or, a controversial choice given his political connections to the ultra right French nationalist Jean Marie Le Pen. Also featured is the Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Rocky star and producer Sylvester Stallone, and Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn.

© 2019 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 05/15/19
Movie Magazine International

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