Adams on Reel Women: The Cannes Sex Scandal part deux

Cannes Cannot (by Danny Martindale)

Fact: Men directed all 22 films in competition for the Palme d’Or at the 65th Cannes International Film Festival. Fact: The only woman to win that coveted prize was Jane Campion for “The Piano” in 1993 — and that was a joint victory. Cannes, we’ve got a problem — and when I say “we,” I mean women and men who love film.

Four weeks ago, I first raised this controversy in my column “Thelma Adams on Reel Women” at AMC Filmcritic.com, a site that has since folded. At that time, I wrote, “I love David Cronenberg, whose ‘Cosmopolis’ has been welcomed into the competition and who headed the Cannes jury in 1999. I was a champion of his cerebral period drama ‘A Dangerous Method,’ which had a terrific star turn by Keira Knightley. But, really, not a single film by a woman? I’m just gobsmacked.”

Now that I’ve migrated my column to Yahoo! Movies, the world’s most viewed movie site, I want to expand the debate for our larger audience. In Cannes, where the festival opened last Thursday and will run through Sunday, the quotes on the gender controversy have been surprisingly subdued from the country that decapitated Marie Antoinette as part of its revolution.

The head of the boys’ club: The Boys Are All Right

Festival Artistic Director Thierry Fremaux explained: “I don’t select films because the film is directed by a man, a woman, white, black, young, an old man. … It wouldn’t be very nice to select a film because the film is not good but it is directed by a woman.” Fremaux lacks the self-awareness that his lock-hold on selecting the films may impact which movies get rewarded and which get tossed back. In every society, the gatekeepers determine the definition of quality.

To read the rest of the column go to Yahoo! Movies