It’s frustrating to see the biggest story out of Cannes that women aren’t allowed to wear flats on the red carpet. On the one hand, I get it — women should never be forced to wear high heels. On the other hand, that this story would get traction over all others is depressing. If we get to wear flats does that make us more important, less like sex objects, less oppressed, less represented? I don’t think so. While it’s an important issue to talk about — I totally get it — it would be a shame if this obliterated something I’ve seen at Cannes for the first time since I’ve been coming to the festival — almost every movie I’ve seen in main competition has a woman in the lead.
Mia Madre was a movie made by Nanni Moretti wherein the director cast a woman to play himself. She’s the film director who is mourning the death of her mother. You could imagine how inclined an Italian director would have been to make the film about a man.
Sicorio – Emily Blunt’s character was supposed to have been a man.
The Assassin – not one but two female assassins.
When Mountains Depart – a Chinese woman over three decades.
Carol – two women in love dealing with being gay at a time when it was disallowed.
Inside Out – Pixar film about the internal life of a young girl.
Mad Max: Fury Road – Charlize Theron takes the wheel and the gun.
Mon Roi – directed by a woman, about a woman in love with a disaster.
Our Little Sister – women, directed by KORE-Eda
While the films everyone seems to like are (typically) male driven — Son of Saul, The Lobster, Tale of Tales — they all have spectacular female roles.
Out of competition, films directed by women here include: Naomi Kawase’s Un, Alice Winocour’s Maryland, Ida Panahandeh’s Nahid, and Emmanuelle Bercot’s Standing Tall. Please tell me any other major film festival with this kind of representation.
I have seen more stories of women this year at Cannes than I’ve seen in the Oscar race in ten years. I’m not about to turn on all of that just because women are supposed to wear high heels on the red carpet.
I can’t defend this so-called controversy but I can say let’s look at the bigger picture. Let’s look at this breakthrough year and applaud it. Otherwise we make the mistake of sending the message that it doesn’t matter to us what the films are about. Just don’t make us wear high heels on the red carpet.