- Egypt rights center raided, 2 Mubaraks acquitted
- New Mexico Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage constitutional
- Blame Bush: 5 years later, that’s still the mantra, pollsters find
- Dutch prostitutes demand same retirement benefits as soccer stars
- John McCain to Harry Reid: I’ll ‘kick the crap’ out of you
- Dogs that talk: Researchers seek $10K for ‘No More Woof’ technology
- 1,000 firefighters called to battle stubborn Big Sur wildfire
- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
- Britain orders airplane to rescue citizens from violent South Sudan
- Mega Millions winner emerges as Georgia mom, in ‘disbelief’
Feminists decry lack of female directors in competition at Cannes Film Festival
Question of the Day
CANNES, France — At this year’s Cannes Film Festival, there are directors in their 30s and their 80s, directors from Europe and North America, directors from Asia and the Middle East — but no women.
Not, at least, among the 22 films competing for the coveted Palme D’Or, an absence that has drawn criticism from feminists — and a defense from the festival’s artistic director. Thierry Fremaux argued it’s not his fault that filmmaking remains primarily “a male sport.”
“I don’t select films because the film is directed by a man, a woman, white, black, young, an old man,” said Mr. Fremaux, who has led the festival since 2001. “I select films because I think they deserve to be in selection.
“It wouldn’t be very nice to select a film because the film is not good but it is directed by a woman,” he added.
Last year, four female directors made the main competition lineup, including Britain’s Lynne Ramsay and Australia’s Julie Leigh. The festival’s critics say this year’s choice suggests that was a blip, rather than a trend.
The letter, whose signatories included filmmaker Virginie Despentes and writer Nancy Huston, said sarcastically that the lineup “sends a powerful message. … Above all, never let the girls think they can one day have the presumptuousness to make movies or to climb those famous Festival Palace steps, except when attached to the arm of a Prince Charming.”
It’s not that women are in short supply at Cannes. They abound — most prominently on-screen and on the red carpet. The French Riviera film festival is synonymous with female glamour, from Sophia Loren and Monica Bellucci to Penelope Cruz and Angelina Jolie.
Women also are plentiful in off-screen cinema roles, from the traditional enclaves of hair and makeup to film editing, where experts like Martin Scorsese’s longtime collaborator Thelma Schoonmaker are considered among the best in the business.
“There are a lot of women [in editing] because they are close to the directors, and the directors are men,” said Colette Farrugia, a film editor with 30 years of experience in the business.
Female feature directors remain rare, despite high-profile successes such as Kathryn Bigelow, whose war film “The Hurt Locker” won six Academy Awards, including best director — making her the only woman ever to win that prize.
Research by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University found that just 5 percent of last year’s 250 highest-grossing films were directed by women, a lower level than a decade earlier.
Some have suggested forms of affirmative action, or quotas, for female filmmakers, but many directors oppose the idea.
“I would absolutely hate it if my film got selected because I was a woman,” said British director Andrea Arnold, whose films “Red Road” and “Fish Tank” both won prizes at Cannes. “It’s true the world over in the world of film, there are just not that many women film directors. That’s a great pity and a great disappointment.”
Mr. Fremaux acknowledged that cinema is still male-dominated, but said “it’s not the fault of Cannes.”
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Fourth Amendment says Obama is not at liberty to collect metadata
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson suspended indefinitely for gay quip
- Bill Gates: The Secret Santa disguised as a 'friendly fellow' on Reddit
- Democrats cite pope in call for minimum wage hike, jobless benefits
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- Armed response, not restrictive gun laws, brought swift end to school shooting
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- U.S. Army mulls wiping out memory of Robert E. Lee, 'Stonewall' Jackson
- Outrage over Phil Robertson suspension, 'malignant' political correctness
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Wall Street news for retail investors who want to know what's going on.
Television commentary, reviews, news and nonstop DVR catch-up by Lisa King Dolloff and friends.
Entertainment News and Reviews from Washington, D.C. and beyond.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow