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Women and The Cannes Film Festival

By Lauren Cali 
May 5, 2022

The Cannes Film Festival has been failing women since its inception.

In 2018, a gender parity pledge was made by the Cannes Film Festival, pledging to have more films by female filmmakers in the program. Unfortunately, the pledge is not adding up to expectations. In 2019 only four films had female directors, 2021 films included four directors also, but this year only three films led by female directors are slated. 

The struggle for parity has been met by public protest at the event. A year after the pledge was made, 82 actresses, filmmakers, and producers protested Cannes’ lack of female representation by ascending the steps of the Palais Des Festivals. 

Two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett was one of the co-leaders of the protest. She said
“We are 82 women, representing the number of female directors who have climbed these stairs since the first edition of the Cannes film festival in 1946. In the same period, 1,688 male directors have climbed these very same stairs."
The festival isn’t new to protest. In 2019, women and activists from Argentina took a stand with a pro-choice demonstration ahead of the premiere of Juan Solanas’s abortion documentary Let It Be Law - The Hollywood Reporter reports . The women sported the color green. 
The three directors whose films will be showcased this year are: 
  • - Claire Denis for Stars at Noon
  • - Kelly Riechardt for Showing Up
  • - Valeria Bruni Tedeschi for The Almond Tree

Since the inception of the festival 82 women have had their films included, compared to 1600+ by men - The Wrap reports . Only two women have ever won the prestigious Palme d'Or award - Jane Campion in 1993. Almost three decades later Julia Ducournau won in 2021. 

The festival is taking place May 17-28 on the French Riviera. You can find out all of the details here