The Festival de Cannes – known to many of us as the Cannes Film Festival – is the biggest showcase of new films of all genres from around the world. Unlike most other film festivals, like the Oscars, anyone can submit a film, with every submission have the chance of being viewed by world-renowned film industry professionals. It has launched the careers of directors like Steven Soderbergh and Quentin Tarantino. This year, from the 14th to the 25th of May, the French city of Cannes will welcome some of the biggest names in the business and transform into a hub of all things film.
There are different categories that the Official Selection of the films are divided into; Competition: Feature films and Short films, Feature Films Out of Competition, Un Certain Regard and Cinefondation. Short films cannot be longer than 15 minutes, whereas feature films can run as long as they want – for example, in 2003, Marco Tullio Giordana’s ‘La Meglio Gioventu’ was five and a half hours long. Films that are in the Out of Competition category are the ones the Cannes selection committee wants to recognised but didn’t quite fit the criteria for the Competition. Un Certain Regard is used to show ‘first-time films’, experimental techniques and any trends showing up in the work of reputable directors not yet recognised in mainstream cinema. Lastly, Cinefondation is entirely for the work of film students.
This year, the opening film, nominated in the Competition category, is the highly-anticipated ‘The Dead Don’t Die’ directed by Jim Jarmuch, a zombie comedy film starring Selena Gomez, Adam Driver and Chloë Sevigny. Pedro Almodóvar’s ‘Dolor y Gloria’ is his sixth film to compete at Cannes, his first being ‘All About My Mother’ where, in 1999, he took home the Best Director win. Another film selected for Competition is Marco Bellocchio’s ‘The Traitor’, marking the return of this auteur for the first time in a decade. Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles’s ‘Baracu’ is another anticipated movie for this pair of Brazilian filmmakers.
It is to be noticed that there is a definite lack of the inclusion of female directors – in fact, only four have been included in the Competition. The last time four women were nominated at the Cannes Film Festival was in 2011, a record number of female directors to ever be included. It has only screened 82 women in the Competition category, compared to 1,600 men. The organisers even swore to include more women in the running after having only three female directors selected for the main category last year. However, there are 13 female directors included in all the categories. In 1993, Jane Champion became the first women to ever win the festivals highest honour – the Palme d’Or. She remains the only woman to have ever won this prize.
What film are you most excited to see? Who do you think will win?
Text: Didi Robinson