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The Cannes Film Festival’s official selection might be lacking in new works from female directors, but elsewhere in this year’s lineup, women are staking a claim for supremacy. In the International Critics’ Week sidebar, they’re actually leading the way. In the first time in a decade, this year’s competition slate includes a majority of films made by female directors.
The seven titles that will play in Critics’ Week include four directed by women: Agnieszka Smoczynska’s (best known for her wild debut “The Lure”) “Fugue,” Anja Kofmel’s “Chris the Swiss,” Rohena Gera’s “Sir,” and Sofia Szilagyi’s “One Day.” Also competing in the section: Benedikt Erlingsson’s “Kona Fer I Strid” (“Woman at War”), Camille Vidal-Naquet’s “Sauvage,” and Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt’s “Diamantino.”
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The last time female directors offered up the majority of films in the sidebar’s competition, it was in 2008, when films by Emily Atef, Aida Begić, Valeriya Gai Germanika, and Anna Novion screened alongside features from Duane Hopkins, Pablo Fendrik, and Christophe Van Rompaey. In the intervening decade, few female filmmakers have earned a spot in the sidebar, and in 2012, 2013, and 2015, no films from women screened in Critics’ Week. Last year, however, did see an uptick in representation, as three filmmakers (Marcela Said, Lea Mysius, and Atsuko Hirayanagi) debuted new work in the section.
Like Directors’ Fortnight (which will announce its lineup tomorrow), Critics’ Week is a parallel section to the Official Selection organized by the French Union of Film Critics, which currently includes over 244 critics, writers, and journalists. It’s oldest parallel section to the Cannes Film Festival, first kicking off in 1962. The section is devoted to first and second films from new talents and rising stars, and provides a platform for the kind of younger filmmakers who do not typically show up in the Official Selection.
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