The Cannes Film Festival will be running from 12th May to 23rd May and the selection committee has been unveiled. Last year, the festival revealed its committee for the first time which included four women, three of whom return this year. This year's committee now includes five women which we will list below:
The second the opening titles start Guy Ritchie’s latest film “The Gentlemen” (2020) sets itself up as something sophisticated, colourful and bleeding with style. And it was. The story veers from one twist to another, punctuated by side quests and violence. The soundtrack was sharp as a knife, the characters were larger than life. Nothing about this is supposed to be serious, it’s a drug dealing gun toting romp. Except for the attempted rape. At this point the film went from a lot of fun to deeply disturbing in a split second. But even more galling was that it went straight back to being fun again. Is rape really that much of a throwaway plot point?
For me, 2019’s most divisive film was “Bombshell.” which chronicles the downfall of right-wing propagandist Roger Ailes (John Lithgow). Ailes, a well-known predator, was eventually ousted at Fox News, the 'fascist' juggernaut he created. Numerous women came forward with horrific stories of sexual harassment and abuse. “Bombshell” highlights the story of three characters - two real women and one who is the amalgamation of stories. The real women Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) and Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) have a history of perpetuating the far-right ideology of Fox News. Kayla (the stellar Margot Robbie) is a fictional portrayal of many women who encountered Ailes.
During LFF 2019 I encountered many short films, there were many that I enjoyed but there was one that stayed with me long after the festival had ended. This film was "Rehearsal" written and directed by Courtney Hope Thérond, who very kindly agreed to talk to ITOL regarding her film and the it's production. During our interview we discussed what inspired her to make the film, the issues concerning consent and what filmmakers inspired her. We would like to extend our thanks to Courtney and wish all the best of her luck with her future projects!
2015. It had been 10 years since the Star Wars saga had wrapped up with 2005’s "Revenge of the Sith". There I was standing in a massive line around noon waiting to get into a 7 pm showing of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens". The first outing post-Disney buy out. No one quite knew what to expect. Reviews hadn’t gone live, advance screenings started at 3pm, the script had been kept tightly under wraps, it was all up in the air. The marketing at this point had all eyes on Finn as the supposed new Jedi of this trilogy, with Rey as the leia type character. Portrayed by Daisy Ridley, nothing was known about this character, other than she was a scavenger who played into the story somehow. Little did we know she would actually be the main character of this new trilogy. So it took everyone by surprise when at the end it was her wielding the lightsaber in the climactic battle against Kylo Ren play by Adam Driver.
Let me make it clear up front that I really like “Elf” (2003) and no Christmas is complete without it. It’s consistently ranked among the top Christmas films of all time and is screened at cinemas every year. With that in mind, I want to talk about the way the film treats women.
ometimes you see a film that encapsulates something so enraging and freeing and vindicating it’s like a punch in the face and you want to run up to your fellow cinemagoers and shout “wasn’t that amazing!!” “Judy and Punch” (2019) is one such film. It’s darkly funny and a rallying call to a radical revolution of open-mindedness and inclusivity. These things are not the realm of wishy-washy millennial snowflakes as social media trolls would have us believe, but strong people willing to risk their lives standing up to tyranny and braying mobs who are choosing which rocks to stone them to death with.
On 21st November Anita Sarkeesian tweeted to highlight the lack of female characters in the first episode of Disney’s new Star Wars show "The Mandalorian" and it caused an immediate backlash. The discourse that’s still raging raises some fairly universal arguments which are worth exploring. It’s this discourse I want to focus on here, not the accuracy or otherwise of Sarkeesian’s tweet as I have not seen "The Mandalorian".
At the 2018 New York Film Festival, actress Carey Mulligan was asked how she could get into character for someone as unlikable as Jeannette in “Wildlife” (2018). Mulligan explained to the shortsighted audience member that likability is more than niceness. It is finding a connection in someone. Mulligan transformed herself into Jeannette, a young mother who, while her husband is away, has an affair as she tries to find herself again. It is a beautiful performance about the way definitions can be thrust upon and shackle women. So, what made her unlikable? Was it the infidelity? The selfishness? The uncomfortable self-exploration? It seems that male characters can do and be those things. We call them “complex” or “complicated.” We label them the “anti-hero.” But what makes that journey different for women?