Majority of Cannes Critics’ Week Competition Films Were Directed by Women

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In what is believed to be a first, the French Union of Film Critics selected a majority of films by female directors for competition in the International Critics’ Week sidebar at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

The seven competition titles in Critics’ Week, announced Monday, will include four directed by women: Agnieszka Smoczynska’s “Fugue” (pictured above),  Anja Kofmel’s “Chris the Swiss,” Rohena Gera’s “Sir” and Sofia Szilagyi’s “One Day.”

They will compete against Benedikt Erlingsson’s “Kona Fer I Strid” (Woman at War”), Camille Vidal-Naquet’s “Sauvage,” and Gabriel Abrantes & Daniel Schmidt’s “Diamantino.”

“Wildlife,” Paul Dano’s adaptation of a Richard Ford novel starring Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal, will open the sidebar in a special screening. The film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, is the only American film chosen.

Also Read: Paul Dano’s ‘Wildlife

Guillaume Senez’s “Our Struggles” will also be presented as a special screening, while Alex Katz’s “Guy” will close the section.

Critics’ Week is run independently of the main festival but takes place concurrently. The selection is devoted to first and second films from new directors — and its directorial debuts, including “Wildlife,” are eligible for Cannes’ Camera d’Or for the festival’s best first film.

International Critics’ Week (Semaine de la Critique) is organized by the French Union of Film Critics, which is made up of 244 critics, writers and journalists. The oldest parallel section to the Cannes Film Festival, it began in 1962.

Also Read: Cannes Lineup Reaches From Spike Lee to Jean-Luc Godard

The winners will be chosen by a jury headed by Danish director Joachim Trier and also including American actress Chloe Sevigny, Argentinian actor Nahuel Perez Biscayart, festival programmer Eva Sangiori and French journalist Augustin Trapenard.

Critics’ Week also announced 10 short films in competition, three of them by female directors.

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Cannes Lineup Reaches From Spike Lee to Jean-Luc Godard

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The 2018 Cannes Film Festival will include new films from directors Spike Lee, Pawel Pawlikowski, David Robert Mitchell and Jean-Luc Godard, as part of a lineup light on American films and long on international auteurs both young and old.

Lee’s “BlacKKKlansman” and Mitchell’s “Under the Silver Lake” are the only American movies in the 18-film main competition, although Ron Howard’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story” will screen out of competition.

Celebrated international directors in the competition include Pawlikowski, Matteo Garrone, Jia Zhang-Ke and Godard, who is bringing the new “Le Livre d’Image” to the festival more than five decades after he made the 1965 film “Pierrot le Fou,” which graces this year’s Cannes poster (above).

Two of the directors in competition, Iranian Jafar Panahi and Ukrainian Kirill Serebrennikov, are under house arrest in their home countries. Cannes General Delegate Thierry Frémaux said the festival would appeal to those countries to allow the filmmakers to travel to France to present their films.

Also Read: Netflix Bails on Cannes Over Theatrical Release Mandate

Overall, the selection is missing many of the Cannes regulars whose films were rumored to be in the running: Naomi Kawase, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Mike Leigh, Olivier Assayas, Jacques Audiard and Xavier Dolan, among others. Their films may not have been ready in time, but the selection includes enough first-timers to suggest that the festival was consciously trying to bring fresh blood to the Croisette, and particularly to the main competition.

The selection was announced by Frémaux and festival president Pierre Lescure at a press conference in France on Thursday morning. The films were chosen from what Frémaux said were 1,906 submissions.

The main competition typically contains about 20 films, and Frémaux hinted that additional titles would be added in the coming weeks.

Three of the directors in the main competition are female: Eva Husson, Nadine Labacki and Alice Rohrwacher. Since the festival began in 1946, only about four percent of the directors in the main competition have been women. But since 2000, that percentage has inched up to about nine percent, with a high of four women landing films in the competition (which usually consists of about 20 films) in 2011 and three doing in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

As previously announced, the festival will open with Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s Spanish-language “Everybody Knows,” starring Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, and will include an out-of-competition screening of “Solo: A Star Wars Story” and a 50th-anniversary presentation of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” hosted by Christopher Nolan.

The festival will not include any movies from Netflix, which opted not to submit any films in the wake of rules banning films from the main competition if they didn’t have a French theatrical release.

Also Read: ‘You Were Never Really Here’ Rides Cannes Praise to Big Indie Box Office Start

Rather than submit films for the festival’s out-of-competition sections, Netflix opted to withdraw all its potential Cannes entries. This affected both possible competition titles like Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” and Jeremy Saulnier’s “Hold the Dark” as well as two likely entries in the out-of-competition Cannes Classics section: the newly completed version of Orson Welles’ final, unfinished film, “The Other Side of the Wind,” and Morgan Neville’s documentary about the completion of that film.

The 2018 Cannes Film Festival will begin on Tuesday, May 8 and run through Saturday, May 19. Cate Blanchett will serve as president of the main competition jury, while Benicio del Toro will head the Un Certain Regard jury.

The official selection:

MAIN COMPETITION
“Everybody Knows,” Asghar Farhadi (opening night)
“En Guerre (At War),” Stephane Brize
“Dogman,” Matteo Garrone
“Le Livre d’Image,” Jean-Luc Godard
“Netemo Sametemo (Asako I & II), Ryusuke Hamaguchi
“Plaire Aimer et Courir Vite (Sorry Angel),” Christophe Honore
“Les Filles du Soleil (Girls of the Sun),” Eva Husson
“Ash Is Purest White,” Jia Zhang-Ke
“Shoplifters,” Kore-Eda Hirokazu
“Capharnaum,” Nadine Labaki
“Buh-Ning (Burning),” Lee Chang-Dong
“BlacKKKlansman,” Spike Lee
“Under the Silver Lake,” David Robert Mitchell
“Three Faces,” Jafar Panahi
“Zimna Wojna (Cold War),” Pawel Pawlikowski
“Lazzaro Felice,” Alice Rohrwacher
“Yomeddine,” A.B. Shawky
“Leto,” Kirill Serebrennikov

OUT OF COMPETITION
“Solo: A Star Wars Story,” Ron Howard
“Le Grand Bain,” Gilles Lelouche

MIDNIGHT SCREENINGS
“Ten Years in Thailand,” Aditya Assarat, Wisit Sasanatieng, Chulayarnon Sriphol and Apichatpong Weerasthakul
“The State Against Mandela and the Others,” Nicolas Champeaux & Gilles Porte
“A Touts Vents (To the Four Winds),” Michel Toesca
“La Traversee,” Romain Goupil
“O Grande Circ Mistico,” Carlo Diegues
“Pope Francis – A Man of His Word,” Wim Wenders
“Les Ames Mortes (Dead Souls),” Wang Bing
“Arctic,” Joe Penna
“Gongjak (The Spy Gone North),” Yoon Jong-Bing

UN CERTAIN REGARD
“Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” Bi Gan
“Les Chatouilles (Little Tickles),” Andrea Bescond & Eric Metayer
“Sofia,” Meyem Benm’Barek
“Grans (Border),” Ali Abbasi
“Guele d’Ange (Angel Face),” Vanessa Filho
“Girl,” Lukas Dhont
“A Genoux les Gars (Sextape),” Antoine Desrosieres
“Manto,” Nandita Das
“Mon Tissu Prefere (My Favorite Fabric),” Gaya Jiji
“Euphoria,” Valeria Golino
“Rafiki (Friend),” Wanuri Kahiu
“Die Stropers (The Harvesters),” Etienne Kallos
“In My Room,” Ulrich Kohler
“El Angel,” Luis Ortega
“The Gentle Indifference of the World,” Adilkhan Yerzhanov

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