Cannes 2017: Sofia Coppola becomes second woman ever to win Best Director prize

She won for her sizzling slice of Southern gothic The Beguiled, a second adaptation of the book of the same name after the 1971 film 

Clarisse Loughrey
Monday 29 May 2017 08:18 BST

Gender inequality is one that's present on every level of the industry: from blockbuster cinema, to the glitz of the Academy Awards, to the European sophistication of the Cannes Film Festival.

Though many significant works by female directors have passed through the festival, they're rarely rewarded during the closing prize ceremony; hopefully, that's a fact that will change soon, with The Beguiled director Sofia Coppola landing a historic win at this year's ceremony.

She becomes the second woman ever, in the festival's 70-year history, to win the Best Director prize, the first being Soviet filmmaker Yuliya Solntseva in 1961 for The Chronicle of Flaming Years.

The Beguiled collects together a stellar cast: Nicole Kidman plays the headmistress of Miss Martha Farnsworth Seminary for Young Ladies. Kirsten Dunst plays teacher Edwina, and Elle Fanning plays student Alicia.

The inward-looking world of these young women is suddenly disrupted by the arrival of a wounded Union army soldier, played by Colin Farrell. Though the 1971 film which adapts the same book by Thomas P. Cullinan focused on the soldier, Coppola will shift the narrative to the women and their relationships with each other and with the man who threatens to disrupt their harmony.

The Beguiled - Trailer

In her pre-written speech, read out by director and jury member Maren Ade, Coppola thanked Jane Campion for being a role model, being the only female director to have ever won the coveted Palme d'Or for best film.

You can read the full list of winners here.

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