Cannes Film Fest 2018: Women Directors Still Underrepresented Minority

For years, the Cannes Film Fest has been criticized for its systemic underrepresentation of female directors.

In 2015, the event stirred controversy for an unwritten policy that expects/requires women to wear high heels on the red carpet.

This year, the 70th anniversary festival poster, which shows an exuberant Claudia Cardinale dancing, sparked controversy when fans online noted that the picture has been retouched to make her appear slimmer.

Festival director Thierry Fremaux on Thursday unveiled the official lineup for the 70th Cannes Film Fest, noting that 12 movies directed by women will screen in the official selection this year, up from 9 in 2016.

But 12 titles among the 54 screening in the official lineup, which includes competition and out-of-competition titles, short films, special screenings and the Un Certain Regard sidebar, still means that most films this year were directed by men.

Female directors amount to 22.2 percent; male directors, 77.8 percent.

MAIN COMPETITION: 3 Femmes (out of 19 Directors)

Of the 19 films in the main competition, only three are directed by women:

Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled;

Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here;

Radiance from Naomi Kawase.

That ratio, about 15 percent, is on par with last year’s Cannes lineup, which included Andrea Arnold’s American Honey, Toni Erdmann from Maren Ade and Nicole Garcia’s From the Land of the Moon.



Cannes’ selections also include: Kristen Stewart’s Come Swim, and a TV series, Top of the Lake: China Girl from director Jane Campion (co-helmed by Gerard Lee), both of which will get special screenings this year.


The Un Certain Regard sidebar has four female-directed projects, amounting to one fourth of the program of 16 titles.

They include:

The Desert Bride from directors Cecilia Atan and Valeria Pivato;

After the War from Annarita Zambrano;

Jeune Femme from Leonor Serraille;

Western from German filmmaker Valeska Grisebach.

Agnes Varda

Visages, Villages, the latest documentary from New Wave filmmaker Agnes Varda, gets a special screening in Cannes.

Vanessa Redgrave, the Director

Sea Sorrow is the directorial debut of Oscar-winning actress and multiple Cannes winner Vanessa Redgrave, who is 80.