It wouldn’t be Cannes without a little controversy. Four days before the event kicks off, French Feminist organization La Barbe (The Beard) has published an editorial in today’s Le Monde that laments the lack of women in the main competition. Among the signatories are Coline Serreau, director of the original French version of Three Men And A Baby, and Virginie Despentes, who directed 2000’s controversial Baise Moi. Last year saw a record 4 women in competition, including France’s Maïwenn who won the Grand Prize for Polisse. This year: 0. (Jane Campion is the only woman to ever win a Palme d’Or; that was in 1993.) The editorial reads in part: “Cannes 2012 allows Wes, Jacques, Leos, David Lee, Andrew, Matteo, Michael, John, Hong Im, Abbas, Ken, Sergei, Cristian, Yousry, Jeff, Alain, Carlos, Walter Ulrich, Thomas to show once again that men love depth in women, but only in their cleavage.” Cannes general delegate Thierry Frémaux responded to the editorial saying the festival will never choose a film “that doesn’t deserve it just because it’s directed by a woman.” He added that he agrees women should have a higher-profile in film, but told AFP, “It’s not at Cannes, nor in May, that this problem needs to be addressed. It’s all year long…To accuse the festival serves absolutely nothing.” When I spoke to him after he announced his competition picks in April, I suggested he was probably going to take some heat for the testosterone-fueled roster. He said, “And so? There were four women last year and maybe next year there will be four again.”
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