This year’s Cannes film festival showcases the works of some remarkable directors and directorial debuts. As part of their ‘Director’s fortnight’ film list, the independent section running parallel to the festival, highlights the directorial talent in feature film, documentary and shorts. One of the most significant progresses has been the achievement of more female directors recognized for their work. Here is a compilation of some of the most anticipated directors acknowledged this year.
One of the many female star-directors pinned to be this year’s main attraction of the festival. Her French feature, Standing Tall has already received global attention and will be the festivals opening night selection. Bercot has already made a name for herself as a successful actress and with Standing Tall she has added successful director under her belt too. Bercot’s social realist drama tells the story of a troubled teenager Malony (Rod Paradot), who is ordered to straighten out his act by a judge. The film deals with issues of the governmental system that is designed to help kids like Malony collides with his changing personality and problems about family dysfunction. Young convincing Paradot debuts his acting for the first time and arguably steals the show in his emotional and unsettling performance alone. This film has already raised comparisons to the Dardeene brothers who have been acclaimed for their achievements in social realism drama, proving Standing Tall is in fact towering over the film selection at this years Cannes and due to be a success nationwide.
French director Garrel takes direction from 60’s new wave cinema in his infidelity drama, In the Shadow of Women. The film shot in black and white centers on the relationship between a documentary-making couple. It is a power balance dictated by the husband Pierre who begins an affair, leaving wife Manon ‘in the shadow.’ Garrel delivers a new take on romance articulating the strange ways we follow desire and lust. There is something to be said about the French acclaimed directors leading this years festival in that their style and their quality never fall short on delivering to the audience even more so in their native France.
The Oscar-winning actress makes her directorial debut about the birth of the state of Israel in her film, A Tale of Love and Darkness. The Israeli-born star brings Amos Oz’s international bestseller to the big screen and tells the tale of a boy coming of age in the tumultuous period before and after Israel’s independence from British order. The film shows the complexity of the Arab-Israeli conflict that has rarely been touched upon in Hollywood before. Portman also stars in and wrote the screenplay adaptation of Oz’s work proving her potential behind the camera is just as impressive as in front.
Famuyiwa introduces his new feature Dope debuting the multi-talented hip-hop artist A$AP Rocky as well as many other well-known names in the music industry. Dope has been making waves since its premiere at Sundance and has since gained a massive following. The film tells the story of young Malcolm (Shemeik Moore) surviving high school in the tough neighbourhood in Los Angeles. He gets invited to an underground party by chance which unfolds his adventure that could allow him to being accepted as cool or ‘dope’ by his peers but ultimately is a story about self-discovery and self-acceptance. Dope is a film for this generation loaded with 90’s hip-hop reference and cleverly stylised to be a fresh urban take on teenage-hood, it most certainly will have no trouble finding its audience once it is released worldwide.