In Her Voice News Letter, May 31st
Note: We will post the transcripts of the podcasts when we can.
Transcript of the podcast from May 31st. If you prefer to listen, click here.
Holiday weekends inevitably lead to a quieter start to the week, and this one is no different. Additionally, the writers’ strike has been going on for about a month now, which reminds me to definitely check out my interview with Erica Saleh, showrunner and member of the WGA negotiating team.
It’s a bit sparse, but I couldn’t resist talking one last time about the Cannes Film Festival and the awards presented this weekend at the festival’s conclusion.
It’s no secret that Cannes does notoriously poorly for female directors in competition, and if you don’t enter the competition, you can’t win. As a result, the number of women vying for the highest award, the Palme d’Or, is quite sparse. For a long time there was only one winner, and that was Jane Campion for the single “The Piano” in 1993. And Campion didn’t win it alone. She shared the award with Chen Kaige for Farewell my Concubine. It wasn’t until 2021, yes I said that correctly, 2021, that a woman, a French director, came along Julia Ducournau won for her film Titane. And now, just two years later, another Frenchwoman has won Golden Palm, Justine Triet for Anatomy of a Fall. The movie stars German actress Sandra Hülser as a novelist who is on trial for murder after her husband dies under suspicious circumstances.
That means a female director has won twice in the last three years. It shouldn’t be lost on anyone that women make great films, and it makes me think of all the lost female voices we were denied when women weren’t in competition at Cannes and many other places.
When presented with the highest award, Jane Fonda said “The first time I was here was in 1963, the festival was smaller then. There were no female directors competing at the time and it never occurred to us that something was wrong. We have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.”
While this year saw the most women in the main competition at seven, let’s hope this becomes normalized enough that no one has to talk about how remarkable it is.
When Triet accepted her award, she criticized the French government’s hard line against recent protests against raising the retirement age and also its austerity philosophy in the cultural sector.
She dedicated the award to “all young female directors and all young male directors: everyone who can’t make films today.” We have to give them space, the space I occupied 15 years ago in a less hostile world It was still possible to make mistakes and start over.”
A female director also won the Un Certain Regard competition, which is usually a stepping stone to the main competition and generally features more interesting and daring films. The top honor went to Molly Manning Walker for “How to Have Sex,” her first feature-length film. The film follows three teenagers on summer vacation, and then things get tough.
Somebody Somewhere wrapped up its second season this weekend. I know there were bigger endings, namely the series finale of Succession and the great Yellowjackets ending their second season. But Somebody Somewhere is a really special show and you can see it on Max.
That is all for today.
Stay tuned for some really great interviews coming up next month, including some filmmakers whose films will be premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival.