Cannes Film Fest 2019: Critics Weeks–Record Films Directed by Women

Lorcan Finnegan’s science-fiction thriller “Vivarium” with Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots, Jérémy Clapin’s fantasy-filled animated feature “I Lost My Body,” and Hlynur Pálmason’s Icelandic drama “A White, White Day” are among the 11 films set to compete at Critics’ Week, the section dedicated to first and second films that runs parallel with the Cannes Film Festival.

Record Films Directed by Women: 11

Among 1,050 feature films viewed by the selection committee, only 26% were directed by women.

However, the selection includes a record 11 films directed by women out of 26 movies in total, said Critics’ Week’s artistic director Charles Tesson, who signed the gender-parity pledge last year.


“Vivarium,” described by Tesson as reminiscent of “The Twilight Zone,” follows a young couple (Eisenberg and Poots) who have just moved into a new housing development and find themselves in a maze of identical homes and a surreal world.

A White, White Day

“A White, White Day” marks Pálmason’s follow up to his 2017 feature debut, “Winter Brothers,” which won three prizes at Locarno and played at a flurry of festivals. “A White, White Day” stars Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson (“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”) as an off-duty police officer who is grieving the recent death of his wife in a car accident and begins to suspect another local man of having had an affair with her.

I Lost My Body

Written by Clapin and Guillaume Laurant, the high-profile screenwriter of “Amélie” and “A Very Long Engagement,” the Paris-set “I Lost My Body” follows Naoufel, a young man in love with Gabrielle. In another part of town, a severed hand escapes from a dissection lab, determined to find its body again. During a dangerous expedition across the city, it remembers its life together with Naoufel, and the two reconnect in an unexpected way. Clapin previously attended Critics’ Week with his short “Skhizein.”

Critics’ Week has had a strong track record of French movies, notably with Julia Ducournau’s “Raw,” “Sauvage,” Alex Lutz’s “Guy” and Jean-Bernard Martin’s “Shéhérazade,” which won three Cesar Awards this year.

The competition lineup is completed by Algerian director Amin Sidi-Boumédiène’s “Abou Leila,” Costa Rican helmer Sofía Quirós Ubeda’s “Land of Ashes,” César Díaz’s “Our Mothers,” and Moroccan helmer Alaa Eddine Aljem’s “The Unknown Saint.”

Critics’ Week will kick off with Colmobian director Franco Lolli’s (“Gente de Bien”) “Litigante” and will close with Chinese first-time director Xiaogang Gu’s “Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains,” which follows the life of a family through seasons and was conceived as the first opus of a trilogy.

Special screenings will include actor-turned-director Hafsia Herzi’s “You Deserve a Love” and Aude Léa Rapin’s “Heroes Don’t Die,” which stars Adèle Haenel and Jonathan Couzinié.

Critics Week Jury
As previously announced, the jury will be presided over by Colombian director Ciro Gerra (“Birds of Passage”), and will comprise actress Amira Casar (“Call Me by Your Name”); Paris-based Danish producer Marianne Slot (“The House That Jack Built,” “Woman at War”); Congolese critic Djia Mambu; and Italian director Jonas Carpignano.