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)

Share this with others on...

Sharing memories Alba Rohrwacher on Marco Bellocchio, Daughter Of Mine, Lucia's Grace, and storytelling with her sister

Monster challenge Tom Sullivan on cast commitment and shooting his debut feature

Wonders and extremes Alba Rohrwacher on Adam Driver in Hungry Hearts, Arnaud Desplechin and Sworn Virgin

Putting Ireland on the map Tom Sullivan and Dathai Keane talk about being trailblazers for an Irish-language film initiative

The Irishman leads Critics Choice nominations Full list of contenders revealed

The Favourite is European Film Awards big winner Yorgos Lanthimos named Best European Director

More news and features

We're bringing you coverage of the French Film Festival.

We've recently been at Tallinn Black Nights, Welsh horror spectacular Abertoir, the London Korean Film Festival and DOC NYC, the Valencia Film Festival, New York's NewFest, the Cambridge Film Festival, the New York Film Festival and the London Film Festival.

Read our full for more.

Visit our festivals section.


Win a copy of Clockwise in our latest competition.