‘Women… Must Put on Their Coats of Armour’ Cannes (2009)

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Jane Campion with Bright Star’s Abbie Cornish, at Cannes

(2017: 2009 was the year that Jane Campion’s Bright Star premiered at Cannes, as did Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank. And Jane Campion took the opportunity to speak out about women directors, as she has so often done at Cannes–

“I would love to see more women directors, because they are half the population, and they gave birth to the whole world. I think women don’t grow up with the harsh world of criticism that men grow up with. We are more sensitively treated. You have to develop a tough skin (to be a director) and it’s my suspicion that women aren’t used to that. They must put on their coats of armour and get on with it, because we need them.”

Returning to this very first ‘European’ post on Wellywood Woman I found how quickly women’s history can be lost, even on the internet. The original had links to articles by Sophie Ivan and Abigail Tartellin. Both links now gone. Here’s what’s left of the post, with a couple of additions.)

Sophie Ivan wrote about a Birds Eye View panel of women filmmakers. Tx Birds Eye View.

And a couple of articles about a party given by documentary director Angela Ismailos also made it over eight years. Angela had just made Great Directors, and included three women among the ten directors she interviewed (Bernardo Bertolucci, David Lynch, Liliana Cavani, Stephen Frears, Agnes Varda, Ken Loach, Todd Haynes, Catherine Breillat, Richard Linklater and John Sayles).

I liked these articles because both writers talk with/about Catherine Breillat. I have a very beautiful poster for her Sex is Comedy in my hall, right opposite one for Agnes Varda’s The Gleaners & I. I’ve read and been told that women writers and directors are represented much more strongly in France than elsewhere, and I can’t remember reading anything a French woman has said about sexism in their industry. So I heard Catherine Breillat’s voice like a tiny exciting whisper, and look forward to hearing more when Great Directors gets here. (2017: See below.)

The first article, by Karin Badt, from the Huffington Post, includes the following exchange:

“The French don’t like me,” said Catherine Breillat (who is French) tout court. “ It is only thanks to the Americans that I am still a filmmaker.”

“And why don’t the French like you?”

“Because I make films that are outside their limits. I make films where women talk about sex.”

“But the French say they LOVE sex!”

“Only if a man is talking about it,” Ms. Breillat said.

The second article is by Anne Thompson in Variety, and included a brief video interview about Great Directors with Angela Ismailos. (2017: That video’s gone too, but here’s the whole of Great Directors Many thanks, Angela Ismailos!)

Angela Ismailos’ latest film (2017)

Angela Ismailos on Facebook

Originally published at wellywoodwoman.blogspot.com.

Written by

Marian Evans. Stories by & about women artists, writers and filmmakers. Global outlook, from Aotearoa New Zealand.

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