Cannes Film Festival: Everything You Need to Know From 'Grace of Monaco' to Ryan Gosling
As women, it's easy to get frustrated with Hollywood when so-called "empowering" films fail to pass the Bechdel test and big-name actresses get the definition of feminism horribly wrong. One only has to look at the number of female-centric films released any given year to realize how sexist the film/TV industry still is, and how much progress is still yet to be made. Yet this summer, moviegoing women finally have reason to celebrate: in addition to all those female-fronted movies hitting theaters, there's the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, which, in its first few days, is already doing more for women than Walk of Shame and The Other Woman did combined.
The festival officially begins on Thursday, May 14, but all throughout this week, preliminary information on studio deals and casting news have been released, and it seems that right now, Cannes is a great place to be if you're a woman. Here's what you need to know:
Jane Campion Calls Out Hollywood's "Inherent Sexism"
Campion, an Oscar-nominated director and president of this year's (majority female) Cannes jury, blamed the film industry's sexism for the lack of female film directors while speaking at a news conference. The only woman ever to win Cannes' highest award, the Palme D'Or, for The Piano in 1993, Campion added that film's male focus "does feel very undemocratic," and that women "don't get our share of representation." She happily noted, however, that 20 percent of the films in competition at the 2014 festival were made by women, a significant upsurge from past years.
Amy Adams' Sci-Fi Drama Sold For $20 Million
What will likely be one of the biggest deals at the entire festival was made before it even began; Story of Your Life , a sci-fi thriller directed by Denis Villenueve (Prisoners) and starring Amy Adams, was sold to Paramount for $20 million. The film, about a linguist (Adams) recruited by the military to deal with alien invasion, will be Adams' first major leading role, coming after her Oscar-nominated turn in American Hustle. Clearly, if studios are willing to shell out that kind of money, they've realized she's one of the most talented working actors today. It's about damn time.
Grace of Monaco Continues to be a Disaster
Some movies with disastrous productions end up being huge successes — Titanic, Apocalypse Now, World War Z — but Grace of Monaco does not look like it's going to be one of them. The biopic, starring Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly, has faced setback after setback ever since filming began, and its Cannes premiere seems to be the worst one yet. It was bad enough that producer Harvey Weinstein, known for his obnoxious but effective support of his films, didn't even show up at the opening, but when the movie screened and the critics weighed in, Grace of Monaco's fate as a bomb was pretty much sealed. Still, even if it is "so awe-inspiringly wooden that it is basically a fire-risk," the fact that Monaco is garnering so much attention is a win for women... right?
Shirley MacLaine is Back
True, she didn't really go anywhere. For those of us who don't watch Downton Abbey, though, it's felt like forever since we've seen Ouiser Boudreaux on-screen. Thankfully, that's about to remedied, as MacLaine's Elsa & Fred was just sold to Millennium Entertainment. The film, starring the legendary actress and Christopher Plummer as two people who unexpectedly fall in love, is a remake of a 2005 Spanish-language dramedy, and looks to be like a mix of About Schmidt and Something's Gotta Give. We're excited for this one.
Gwyneth Paltrow Picked Her Yearly Movie
Hey, remember when "consciously uncoupling" wasn't the first thing you thought of when someone mentioned Gwyneth Paltrow? It turns out that the Goop CEO is actually an Oscar-winning actress, and her newest movie is set to remind you of just that. The Secret In Their Eyes , a crime thriller starring Paltrow and 12 Years a Slave's Chiwetel Ejiofor, was just green-lit by IM Global, and production's expected to start this fall. The film, written and directed by Oscar-nominated writer Billy Ray (Captain Phillips), is an FBI-focused drama that's being called "a revenge tale," so expect Paltrow's role to be a lot more Proof than Glee. Welcome back.
Female-Centric Movies Are In
These are a few of the biggest movies screening at Cannes this week: Clouds of Sils Maria (above), about competition between a young actress (Chloe Grace Moretz) and a veteran star (Juliette Binoche); The Homesman , starring Meryl Streep, Hilary Swank, Hailee Steinfeld and more as pioneers in the American West; The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigsby, with Jessica Chastain as a woman who tells her version of a failed romance; Lost River , a Ryan Gosling-directed (!) thriller starring Christina Hendricks, Eva Mendes, and Saoirse Ronan; and The Outskirts, a high school-set comedy with Victoria Justice described as "Mean Girls meets Revenge of the Nerds." In other words, women are killing it at Cannes this year.
Images: The Weinstein Company; IFC Films