Campion lambasts sexism

Females to the fore on Cannes jury.

by Richard Mowe

Jane Campion presides over the Cannes Competition jury
Jane Campion presides over the Cannes Competition jury

The only female director to have won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Jane Campion clearly relishes her role as the President of this year’s official competition jury.

Campion is surrounded by a high female quotient of French actress Carole Bouquet, director-screenwriter-producer Sofia Coppola, actress Leila Hatami, actress Jeon Do-yeon, and director-screenwriter-producer Jia Zhangke, director- screenwriter-producer Nicolas Winding Refn, actor Willem Dafoe, and actor-director Gael Garcia Bernal.

Last year she presided over the shorts jury. Without getting on her soapbox she said that there was “some inherent sexism in the industry. “

This is borne out by artistic director Thierry Frémaux who revealed that only seven per cent out of the 1800 films submitted to the Cannes Film Festival for possible inclusion, were directed by women.

Campion, who won the top prize for The Piano in 1993, said: “Thierry was proud to point out that we had 20 per cent in all of the programmes. Nevertheless it does feel very democratic, and women do notice. Time and time again we don't get our share of representation. Excuse me gentleman, but the guys seem to eat all the cake.

“It's not that I resent the male filmmakers. I love all of them. But there is something that women are thinking of doing that we don't get to know enough about. They have a distinctly different sensitivity and It's always a surprise when a woman filmmaker does come about."

Campion and her jurors will meet up three times during the Festival and consider the battles we might have at the end.

She says that “I have a lifetime loving cinema and it is that whole lifetime that makes me as a cinema watcher. We are looking for films that have a unique way of seeing the world. It is not easy to land a film in the first place and there are so many ways you can compromise a film.”

She stressed that at this stage she felt “unencumbered. We can open our hearts and our conscience. Who knows – may we will have a consensus or perhaps we will have to discover a consensus.”

The Cannes Competition prizes will be bestowed on Saturday 24 May, a day earlier than usual because of the European Elections on Sunday (25).

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