Where Are Women Directors? @ Rendez-Vous with French Cinema! – Rania Richardson reports

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No news flash here. Almost half of the directors at New York’s Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2014 are women, but that’s no surprise.

I’ve always found the Rendez-Vous festival to be a great place to see new and seasoned female directors in numbers that Hollywood can only dream of. Voilà!

On March 6, Emmanuelle Bercot’s highly satisfying On My Way, will kick off this year’s edition with Catherine Deneuve starring as a former beauty queen on a road trip of self discovery.

Valeria Bruni Tedeschi’s Palme d’Or contender, A Castle in Italy joins Katell Quillevere’s multi-Cesar nominee, Suzanne in the lineup that includes work by Agnes Jaoui, Julie Bertuccelli, and Rebecca Zlotowski, billed equally with the work of fine male directors, including Francois Ozon, Bertrand Tavernier, and the ever-inventive Michel Gondry.

It puzzles me why Hollywood pundits pointedly continue to discuss the lack of opportunity for female directors, yet improvement remains elusive. Let’s look to the French to shed some light on our domestic dilemma.

On March 8, in honor of International Women’s Day, Rendez-Vous will screen the French TV documentary Cineast(e)s, co-directed by Julie Gayet and Mathieu Busson. Appropriately, the film explores the role of women in film from the perspective of 20 acclaimed French women directors.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion in which French and American filmmakers will examine the — to put it dramatically — battle between the sexes. Featured on the panel from the French side are Rendez-Vous directors Katell Quillevere (Suzanne), Axelle Ropert (Miss and the Doctors), Justine Triet (Age of Panic), and Rebecca Zlotowski (Grand Central).

This year’s Rendez-Vous with French Cinema takes place from March 6 – 16, and is a co-presentation of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Unifrance Films. The festival’s 24-film program attests to the sheer variety and vitality — and greater gender equality — of contemporary French filmmaking.

For more information about the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema, visit the festival’s Website or Lincoln Center Film Society Website

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Rania Richardson

Rania Richardson is the Communications Manager for a philanthropic nonprofit in New York, and a freelance writer specializing in film, culture, and business. She came of age in Cambridge, MA and began her career at Time Magazine. Her favorite film is Jean Cocteau’s "Beauty and the Beast" and her mission is to champion the best in world cinema.