Cannes 2018 - The Middle

Please Be Upstanding

On Saturday night, women directors and actors came together to call for a change in the status quo in the film industry. Cate Blanchett led the charge and, together in unison, women stood on the red carpet of the Palais steps. Activism never looked so cool. This was followed by the usual red carpet shenanigans with women posing and a soundtrack of female artists including, who would have thought, Chaka Khan's I'm Every Woman. Let's hope that fixes the inherent inequality then.

Cannes Stand Up
Cannes Varda

Women. Life. Liberty.

This is the central theme running through Eva Husson's Girls of the Sun, about Kurdish female freedom fighters, but it could equally be applied to the charming new Jafar Panahi film 3 Faces. Watching these two films, each set in their remote regions of the world, serves to remind us that liberty and equality are never to be assumed and they are precious and fragile states.

In Girls of the Sun, the back story is chronicled through a French war reporter (played by Emmanuelle Bercot) and whilst the reviews for the film have been less than kind, this story, inspired by actual reportage, is hard to ignore. For all its structural flaws, one of the flashback scenes where the women attempt to escape the house they are imprisoned in is nail-biting, as a heavily pregnant woman is forced to flee whilst also trying to stop giving birth after her waters break. These crimes against women, played out in every war, are unimaginable and Husson deserves a break for bringing some truth to the big-screen.

Girls of the Sun

In 3 Faces, the opening scene is the most devastating as a young teenage girl explains in a filmed mobile camera piece why she can no longer go on. Her ambition to study at the Tehran conservatory and become an actor has been thwarted by her family and she can see no reason to live. Her testimony ends with her suicide. But things are not as they seem, and so Jafar Panahi and actor Behnaz Jafari (playing herself) head out to the hills to investigate. They find a generous - yet decidedly traditional - community awaiting them.

Three Faces

if you care about artistic and female oppression then this pair of films go hand-in-hand.

[Words by Kate Gerova, Curzon's Director of Marketing, Exhibition and Digital]

Our Man in Cannes #2

Jake and Damo get together again to discuss some of the weekend highlights from La Croisette, including: Lukas Dhont's Un Certain Regard and Camera d'or nominated debut 'Girl', 'Leave No Trace' Debra Granik's follow up to 'Winter's Bone' and 'Diamantino' the giant puppy, football, government conspiracy film you never knew you needed until now.

Catch up on episode 1 here

Follow the team on Twitter:

Damian 'Damo' Spandley @damospandley

Jake Cunningham @jakehcunningham

Produced and edited by Jake Cunningham Music supplied by