18 films with a global outlook: the 2018 Competition selection (the potential winners of the Palme d’Or) includes directors from around the world yet has incurred some criticism for its lack of gender diversity.
In Competition: 87-year-old Frenchman Jean-Luc Godard, whose 1965 film has been transformed into this year’s poster, appears in the list with video essay Le Livre d’Image; American Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, a drama about an African American who infiltrates a Ku Klux Klan chapter; Polish-Brit Pawel Pawlikowski recounts the tale of a cross-country romance during the Cold War; American David Robert Mitchell presents a film noir, Under the Silver Lake; Italian Matteo Garrone with an ‘urban western’ called Dogman; Iranian Asghar Farhadi will open the festival with his thriller Todos Lo Saben featuring Spanish power couple Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem; factory employees fight back in French Stéphane Brizé’s At War; Japanese Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s drama Asako I & II on doppelganger love; fellow Japenese director Hirokazu Kore-Eda’s Shoplifters; another French offering by Christophe Honoré called Sorry Angel; Egyptian-Austrian Abu Bakr Shawky's Yomeddine about a middle-aged man raised in a leper colony; Chinese Jia Zhang-Ke’s Ash is Purest White, the longest film in Competition at two and a half hours; and South Korean Lee Chang-Dong’s Buh-ning.
Just three female directors have made the list: French Eva Husson’s tale of female Kurdish fighters Girls of the Sun; Lebanese Nadine Labaki’s Capernaum; and Italian Alice Rohrwacher’s Lazzaro Felice, a story about ‘a man living on the margins of society who travels through time’. Upon releasing the list of films, Director of the film festival Thierry Frémaux admitted to the press, “There are not enough women directors but… Our point of view is that the films are selected for their intrinsic qualities. There will never be a selection with a positive discrimination for women.”
Controversy hasn’t just surrounded the low number of female directors in the line-up. Two directors are currently leading with complex situations in their home countries: Jafar Panahi (Three Faces) has been banned from leaving Iran multiple times in recent years and Kirill Serebrennikov (Leto) has been under house arrest since 2010 over fraud charges. It has been reported that Frémaux has asked both governments to reconsider their positions and permit the directors to attend. The full list of films in the Official Selection can be found at: