Cannes: Femme to the fore

Bercot set to open the Riviera jamboree.

by Richard Mowe

For only the second time in the Cannes Film Festival’s 68 years the opening choice will be by a woman film-maker – French director Emmanuelle Bercot and her latest offering La Tête Haute (literally Head Held High).

Historic occasion: Emmanuelle Bercot is only the second female film-maker to open the Cannes Film Festival
Historic occasion: Emmanuelle Bercot is only the second female film-maker to open the Cannes Film Festival

The film follows the education of a young delinquent from childhood to adolescence and his relationship with an educationalist who tries to save him from himself.

The film fields a strong cast of Catherine Deneuve, Benoît Magimel, Sara Forestier, and Rod Paradot who plays the young lead. Bercot had worked previously with Deneuve (who plays a juvenile court judge) in On My Way (Elle S’en Va).

After last year’s lacklustre but high profile Grace Of Monaco with Nicole Kidman, artistic director Thierry Fremaux admits the choice may surprise some observers given the usual criteria surrounding the launch title. “The choice demonstrates the Festival’s desire to start with a work that is different, strong and moving,” he said.

The previous woman to open the Festival also was French - Diane Kurys in 1987 with A Man In Love starring Greta Scacchi, Peter Coyote and Jeanne Moreau.

The film, which will open the Festival on 13 May, will also be released in French cinemas on the same day, providing the opportunity for live red carpet relays to cinemas showing the film on the night.

Bercot, a director, screenwriter and actress, has form with the Festival where her 1997 short film Les Vacances received the Jury Prize. Her first feature film, Clément, in which she also starred, was included in the Un Certain Regard Official Selection in 2001.

The Festival’s full plans will be announced on Thursday (16 April)

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