“So, hey,” says a co-worker this morning, “what happened with the petitions and the protests at Cannes?”
Unfortunately, not much.
If you need a quick recap, there were no women-directed films selected to compete for a Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. That inspired a letter to La Presse from French directors who organized themselves into a group they called La Barbe, and a petition to the festival directors calling for industry-wide discussions about women in film.
Well, the petition, organized by Melissa Silverstein of Women And Hollywood, got 2,706 signatures. La Barbe staged a few protests during the film festival. There was a panel discussion about women and film at Cannes, moderated by Anne Thompson, of indiewire’s Thompson on Hollywood.
And then there was an official comment from Gilles Jacob, president of the Cannes Film Festival, pictured at left, texting during Sean Penn’s friggin’ boring speech, luh.
“I am sure that next year the chief selector, Thierry Frémaux, will look more carefully to find films by women,” he said, according to the Guardian.
And then he said this: “[Selecting four women-directed films for the competition in 2001] was maybe a wrong move. Now everyone this year was expecting five films, then six, then seven. In France nowadays, they speak of parity. They want parity in government, parity everywhere, so why not at the Cannes film festival?”
So, yeah. It seems safe to assume that Cannes still doesn’t get it.
If you’d like to read a great synopsis of Cannes and the panel with Anne Thompson, check out Noreen Golfman’s write-up on her blog, Postcards From The Edge, hosted by MUN. Here’s a little excerpt:
It’s safe to say the panel was a whimpering disappointment. Maybe it’s because the invited panel were all suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, but I felt a discernible chill in the room, and it wasn’t coming off the azure waters of the Mediterranean.
When women who are the exceptions to the gender-biased rule start saying they don’t see there’s any problem in the industry you know they haven’t walked through the looking glass. Sure, there were hardships in the industry, they agreed, but, come on, it had nothing to do with gender, only lack of merit.
The whole post is fantastic and definitely worth a read.