Juror condemns lack of women directors


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The Independent Online

A female juror at the Cannes Film Festival yesterday spoke out against the lack of women film directors, just days after a row erupted over the fact that not one female director was chosen to compete for this year's Palme d'Or.

Andrea Arnold, the British director of acclaimed films including Red Road and Fishtank, who is one of four women on the nine-strong the jury, said the lack of female directors is "a great disappointment".

She said: "In the world of film, there aren't many women film directors. Cannes is a small pocket that represents how it is out there," before adding: "Women are half the population and they have things to say about life."

The lack of a film directed by a woman prompted a group of female film-makers, including Virginie Despentes, Coline Serreau and Fanny Cottençon, to write an open letter to the organisers. They said: "Last year, no doubt it was an accident, four women managed to slip in among the 20 in competition." The letter sarcastically applauded the selectors saying they had "returned to their senses" and added: "Men love their women to have depth, but only when it comes to their cleavage." The only woman to win the award in the festival's 64-year history is Jane Campion for The Piano in 1993.

Earlier this week the festival organisers responded angrily to the letter. The head of the selection committee, Thierry Frémaux, said the judges would not select a film "just because it is directed by a woman".