Four female nominees for Palme d'Or make it a golden year for women

The British director Lynne Ramsay is leading an unprecedented charge by female directors at this year's Cannes Film Festival. This year's competition for the Palme d'Or prize features four women directors, the highest in the festival's64-year history.

Ramsay has directed an adaptation of Lionel Shriver's novel We Need to Talk About Kevin, the story of a mother coming to terms with her son's psychopathic behaviour.

Critics panned last year's Cannes line-up for solely featuring male directors. This year's female comeback is led by Ramsay, best known for her debut Ratcatcher (screened at Cannes in 1999), joining Japan's Naomi Kawase, France's Maiwenn Le Besco and the Australian Julia Leigh in a contest to win over a Cannes jury chaired by Robert De Niro.

"It is very exciting for everyone involved, for Lynne, her colleagues and for the shape of the festival," said Luc Roeg, one of the film's producers. "It feels great because we are so proud of the movie, whereas the selection is somewhat out of our control. While Shriver said the film had her blessing, she said she had not seen the film and has not been invited to attend the festival.

"I've lived on the margins of the process," she said. "It has my signature on the contract but I did not write any of the script. It's obviously important to Lynne that I like it, which is very sweet, and so it's important to me that it's important to her. She wants me to see it at its best, and that means seeing it when it's completely finished."

The adaptation stars John C Reilly and Tilda Swinton as Kevin's parents, Eva and Franklin, with the eponymous character played by the relative newcomer Ezra Miller. Radiohead's guitarist Jonny Greenwood has composed the score. Kawase's historical feature Hanezu No Tsuki, her fourth feature film, is Asia's only film in competition; Le Besco's entry is the cop romance Polisse, while Leigh's erotic drama Sleeping Beauty sees Lucy, a student, forced into prostitution and drugged.

Big-name directors in competition include Pedro Almodovar, for the revenge picture La Piel Que Habito (The Skin I Live In); Lars Von Trier's Melancholia, described as a "beautiful movie about the end of the world", and Terrence Malick's generational drama The Tree of Life, starring Brad Pitt. The latter is the only US film in competition.

Eagerly awaited films this year include Paolo Sorrentino's This Must Be The Place, starring Sean Penn as a wealthy retired rock star hunting a former Nazi who persecuted his father. Drive, directed by the Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn, stars Ryan Gosling as a stunt performer with a contract on his head.

The festival's opening film is Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, a romantic comedy set in Paris. Appearing out of competition will be the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and Jodie Foster's The Beaver, featuring Mel Gibson, in which the controversial actor plays a hopelessly depressed man who finds solace in a glove puppet. The competition line-up features 19 films in total, with the festival running from 11 to 22 May. The winner of the Palme d'Or is announced on the festival's final day.

Cannes 2011: The female leads

Naomi Kawase Hanezu No Tsuki

The 41-year-old Japanese director won the Cannes Film Festival's Grand Prix, its second most prestigious prize, in 2007 for Mogari no Mori (The Mourning Forest), the story of a nurse grieving for her dead child. She is in competition this year for Hanezu No Tsuki, which focuses on the history of the city of Asuka.

Lynne Ramsay We Need to Talk About Kevin

Glasgow-born Ramsay, 41, is a graduate of Beaconsfield's prestigious National Film and Television School. Her adaptation of Lionel Shriver's We Need To Talk About Kevin is part financed by the now-defunct UK Film Council, along with BBC Films, and is Britain's sole entry in competition at Cannes this year.

Maiwenn Le Besco Polisse

Le Besco, 34, who works under the moniker Maiwenn, is best known as her appearance as an opera-singing alien in Luc Besson's 1997 sci-fi The Fifth Element. She made her directing debut in 2006 Pardonnez-Moi, a sleeper hit, and is in competition this year for cop romance Polisse.

Julia Leigh Sleeping Beauty

Leigh, 40, is a novelist best known for her debut film The Hunter, a tale of survival set in the Tasmanian wilds. She makes her directorial debut with a controversial adaptation of her own novel, Sleeping Beauty, described as a "haunting erotic fairy tale" featuring drugs and prostitution.

The other contenders

Pedro Almodóvar – La Piel que Habito

Bertrand Bonello – L'Apollonide (Souvenirs de la Maison Close)

Alain Cavalier – Pater

Joseph Cedar – Hearat Shulayim

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne – Le Gamin au Vélo (The Kid with a Bike)

Aki Kaurismäki – Le Havre

Nuri Bilge Ceylan – Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

Terrence Malick – The Tree of Life

Radu Mihaileanu – La Source des Femmes (The Source)

Takashi Miike – Ichimei (Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samuraï)

Nanni Moretti – Habemus Papam (We have a Pope)

Markus Schleinzer – Michael

Paolo Sorrentino – This Must Be the Place

Lars von Trier – Melancholia

Nicolas Winding Refn – Drive

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment
Relocation, relocation: Zawe Ashton travels the pathway to Northampton
Arts and Entertainment
BBC Three was launched a little over five years ago with the slogan: “Three, is a magic number, yes it is.”

BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital move

TV
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Arts and Entertainment
The audience aimed thousands of Apple’s product units at Taylor Swift throughout the show
musicReview: On stage her manner is natural, her command of space masterful
Arts and Entertainment
Channel 4 is reviving its Chris Evans-hosted Nineties hit TFI Friday

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford plays Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade (1989)

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
A Glastonbury reveller hides under an umbrella at the festival last year

Glastonbury
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Miles Morales is to replace Peter Parker as the new Spider-Man

comics
Arts and Entertainment
The sequel to 1993's Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, has stormed into the global record books to score the highest worldwide opening weekend in history.

film
Arts and Entertainment
Odi (Will Tudor)
tvReview: Humans, episode 2
Arts and Entertainment
Can't cope with a Port-A-loo? We've got the solution for you

FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets

Arts and Entertainment
Some zookeepers have been braver than others in the #jurassiczoo trend

Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant

Arts and Entertainment
An original Miffy illustration
art
Arts and Entertainment
Man of mystery: Ian McKellen as an ageing Sherlock Holmes
film review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

    Computerised cooking is coming

    From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
    Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

    Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

    The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
    Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

    Education: Football Beyond Borders

    Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
    10 best barbecue books

    Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

    We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
    Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most