Cannes Film Fest 2021: Dominated by Women

The 74th Cannes Film Festival ended with a Palme d’Or for Julia Ducournau, a historical gesture from the jury.

Titane (2021) is a bold movie, n excellent movie, but also because the director is young; it is only her second feature film in which she explores gender stereotypes.

A new wave of female directors was undeniably recognizable among all Cannes sections, and especially in Un Certain Regard.

There were 7 films directed by eight women among 20 films in competition.

Some films by male directors were impressive too, especially The Innocents (2021) by Eskil Vogt and Great Freedom (Die Grosse Freiheit, 2021) by Sebastian Meise.

The winner of the FIPRESCI jury prize, Playground (Un monde, 2021) was directed by Laura Wandel.

The film is about the world of a small girl as she navigates her way through her first grade year at school.

The Belgian director portrays the love-hate relationship between children, focusing on the little girl and her elder brother, showing rare maturity and mastery for a first film.

Un Certain Regard: Women Directors

In Unclenching the Fists (Razzhimaya Kulaki, which received the Grand Jury Prix from the jury, led this year by the British filmmaker Andrea Arnold.

Kira Kovalenko describes the struggle for freedom of a young girl from the Caucasus region, who is fighting with her father, her lover and her young brother to leave the small city where she grew up.

Women Do Cry by Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakova depicts a Bulgarian family of women dominated by a brutal and violent father, who ultimately find the courage to tell the truth and rebuild their family.

In Prayers for the Stolen (Noche de Fuego) Mexican-Salvadoran filmmaker Tatiana Huezo depicts three friends growing up in a Mexican village controlled by a violent drug cartel.

Their only avenue to avoid getting kidnapped is by hiding and become invincible.

Good Mother

Good Mother (Bonne Mère, 2021), which received the Ensemble Prize, is the second film by the young actress Hafsia Hersi.

It was shot with non-professional actors in the Northern quarter of Marseille, a place of poverty and violence.

The heroine is a prisoner, not literally, but a prisoner of her love for her children. However, the devoted mother also has another family, her aircraft cleaning workmates. Her daughter and daughter in law, sons, friends in the airport are all members of this “prison of love” that gradually become a support for her, leading the film to reach a strong emotional level. The director grew up in Marseille and says that she wanted to pay a sincere tribute to her own mother, also a cleaning lady, who had been raising her children alone.

Croatian Writer-Director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic

A film directed by a woman also won the Camera d’Or award in the Directors’ Fortnight. The Croatian writer-director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic chose the subject of a young girl living with her authoritative father on a Croatian Island.

Scorsese produced the film, Hélène Louvart was the Director of Cinematography.

The director wasn’t able to return to Cannes to receive the prize in person because, a day before the closing ceremony, she gave birth in New York.