American screenwriter, producer and director – Sofia Coppola – has made history after becoming the second woman to win the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival this year for her film The Beguiled. The first ever woman to win the award was Yuliya Solntseva who won it for her film The Story of the Flaming Years in 1961.
Making history, Sofia Coppola’s film received much appreciation at the festival. The film, starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell, is based on the 1971 novel The Beguiled (originally published as A Painted Devil) by Thomas P Cullinan.
While the director wasn’t at the festival, she did release a statement via Maren Ade:
“I was thrilled to get this movie made and it’s such an exciting start to be honored in Cannes. I’m thankful to my great team and cast and to Focus and Universal for their support of women-driven films.”
The book was originally adapted for the silver screen by Clint Eastwood in the 70’s. The latest version is said to be a feminist re-telling, with lead actor Nicole Kidman also honoured for her performance in the project.
Despite a stellar win for Coppola, New Zealand-based filmmaker Jane Campion rued the fact that she’s still the only female director to win Cannes’ Palme d’Or. This year’s Palme d’Or was won by Swedish writer-director Ruben Ostlund for his film The Square.
Speaking to Vulture magazine, she said, “Too long! Twenty-four years! And before that, there was no one. It’s insane. I’m really annoyed that the director-ess from Toni Erdmann [German auteur Maren Ade, who at least is on the Cannes jury this year] didn’t win last time. I thought, ‘Finally, a buddy’. No. No! There’s no more guys winning. That’s it. It’s just going to be women winning from now on.”
Campion won the Palme d’Or in 1993 for The Piano and continues to be the only female director to win it. Her 1993 win, too, was not solely her own as she had to share the prize with Chen Kaige’s Farewell My Concubine.
Feature Image: Sheva.com