Cannes Film Festival 2024: Yes, Women Cannes – Nikki Fowler reports

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This year, the Cannes Film Festival spotlighted a rich diversity within its Official Selection Jury, including prominent women like Oscar nominee Lily Gladstone (Killers of the Flower Moon) and the Jury President, Oscar-winning director Greta Gerwig (Barbie). The festival celebrated the achievements of many female filmmakers and actresses, who not only appeared on screens in the South of France but also took home prestigious awards.

Greta Gerwig

Building on last year’s success, the Cannes Film Festival once again dominated social media conversations. Anatomy of the Fall, which won the Palme d’Or in 2023 for Justine Triet and Arthur Harari, as well as Best Screenplay among its 90 awards, set a high bar. This year, the festival focused on honoring the women behind the films.

French actress Camille Cottin hosted the opening and closing ceremonies, where Meryl Streep, attending Cannes for the first time in over 35 years, received the Palme d’Or and a standing ovation. Streep’s presence was met with admiration at every photo call and red carpet event, making her a standout figure at this year’s festival.

Meryl Streep

Greta Gerwig also received a special tribute, featuring a montage of her work and a musical performance of David Bowie’s Modern Love referencing her 2012 film Frances Ha. At the Furiosa premiere after-party, Gerwig expressed to me how moved she was by the recognition and warm welcome.

In the competition, Coralie Fargeat’s The Substance won Best Screenplay. The film stars Demi Moore and Margaret Qualley in a thriller exploring themes of age, beauty, and self-worth. The Caméra d’Or Special Mention went to Mongrel by You Qiao Yin and Wei Liang, highlighting the festival’s commitment to diverse storytelling.

Still from THE SUBSTANCE

The Grand Prix was awarded to Payal Kapadia for “All We Imagine As Light,” a political and feminist film set in Mumbai. The narrative follows two women from different backgrounds who find solace and growth in a coastal forest near Ratnagiri.

Emilia Perez, a musical thriller about a cartel leader transitioning to a woman, won Best Actress for its female ensemble cast, including Karla Sofía Gascón, Selena Gomez, Zoe Saldana, and Adriana Paz. The film’s score, composed by Camille and Clément Ducol, played a significant role in its storytelling.

Still from EMILIA PEREZ

Another highlight was The Girl with the Needle, starring Victoria Carmen Sonne and Trine Dyrholm. This film, set in post-WWI Copenhagen, tells the story of a young factory worker navigating societal expectations and personal hardships. Its rich black-and-white cinematography and poignant narrative shed light on historical and contemporary women’s issues.

Still from GIRL WITH THE NEEDLE

Agathe Riedinger’s Diamante Brut follows Liane, a young woman balancing her responsibilities as an exotic dancer and caregiver for her sister while seeking fame through social media and reality TV. The film captures her struggles and triumphs in a raw, unfiltered manner.

Still from DIAMANTE BRUT

Other noteworthy films included Andrea Arnold’s Bird, Emma Stone’s performance in Kinds of Kindness, and Rungano Nyoni’s On Becoming a Guinea Fowl, which shared the Best Director Un Regard award. This film addresses familial sexual abuse and stars Elizabeth Chisela. The Shameless, directed by Konstantin Bojanov, explores Indian queer love with leads Omarra Shetty and Anasuya Sengupta, the latter winning Best Actress Un Regard.

Still from BIRD

Cate Blanchett delivered a witty performance in Rumours, though the film’s writing was less captivating. Despite this, the festival highlighted the importance of how women are treated both on and off the screen, with Kelly Rowland exemplifying self-love in handling a public incident with grace.

Kelly Rowland

This year’s Cannes Film Festival was a powerful celebration of women’s contributions to cinema, setting a high standard for future events.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Photos in this article are published courtesy of Glitter Magazine.

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Nikki Fowler

Nikki Fowler is the founder and publisher of Glitter Magazine, and a seasoned critic, writer, journalist and host accredited with the Motion Pictures Association. She skyrocketed Glitter to national status within one issue, taking the title to Barnes and Noble, Target, Walmart, and over 30 other national retailers. Glitter was a glossy magazine found on over 3000 newsstands in every US state. It is now completely digital. Nikki is a graduate of Rutgers College. Rutgers University, with a degree in English. She is a member of AWFJ and AAFCA.