It is no secret that Cannes has had an uneasy relationship with gender parity, responding to the increased demand for diverse films with minor changes. The festival’s director, Thierry Frémaux, came under fire for this at the opening press conference, with his frankly inaccurate claim: “There have never been so many women directors in the official selection because there have never been so many women directors in the industry as a whole.” Cue slow applause. That said, records have been broken on the Croisette this year. There are 25 per cent more female film-makers in main competition than in 2018 and one of them, Mati Diop, became the first black woman to contend for the Palme d'Or. Here, we celebrate some of the best movies from women at Cannes.
Growing up is hard to do, especially for today’s teens in this hyper-connected, social media-driven world. Pippa Bianco’s feature directorial debut Share is a sombre snapshot of how easily digital content can be weaponised. We meet the fun-loving 16-year-old Mandy (Rhianne Barreto) crumpled on her front lawn after a drunken night with her friends, completely unaware of what happened. When a disturbing video of her – partially naked, unconscious and being jeered at by boys – circulates among her classmates, Mandy is forced to confront the events of the party. Despite her efforts to speed away from her problems by playing car-racing video games, she struggles to escape her trauma, with cyberbullies’ ping notifications ever present at high-school and at home. The film’s presentation of the isolation that comes with reporting sexual assault is particularly timely in this Me Too era, and is sensitively handled by Bianco.