The first thrills of change were felt in the spring. On May 4, in the United States, director Chloé Zhao won the Oscar for best director, for Nomadland. Two months later, Julia Ducournau became the second woman to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes, with Titanium – in 1993, Jane Campion obtained it ex aequo with Chen Kaige. At the beginning of September, the French Audrey Diwan receives the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, for her film The event, adaptation of Annie Ernaux’s novel on abortion.
Four years after #metoo, has the cinema started its transformation towards more recognition of women? The actors of the sector evoke a certain change of mentality, as much as fierce resistance to the incentives for more parity in the middle of the seventh art.
The figures attest to this. According to the latest report from the National Center for Cinema and Animated Image (CNC), published in June, only 25% of the 190 films made or co-directed in 2020 were by women. In 2017, before #metoo, that figure was 23%. “In sociology, any group below 30% is considered invisible”, reminds Sandrine Brauer, independent film producer and co-founder of the Collectif 50/50, one of whose leitmotivs is “Counting women so that they count”.
“We have never talked so much about the invisibilization of women, but the figures show that the situation stagnates when nothing is done”, continues the producer.
A rise in the steps of 82 women at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018, prestigious prizes to reward female directors … If the cinema knows how to create symbols, it struggles to question in depth the various links in its own production chain: producers, exhibitors, directors. “We have an industry that awards prizes to get rid of all criticism and make people believe that things are going better, when this is not the case”, analysis Jennifer Padjemi, author of Feminisms & pop culture (Stock, 240 pages, 20.50 euros). “A revolution cannot be achieved in four years, especially in a country which is so behind schedule”, underlines Iris Brey, essayist and film specialist.
“How did we come to terms with this? “, asked the director and actress Agnès Jaoui when she discovered, in 2019, the data of the Collectif 50/50, of which it is a member. “The result is that we are paid less, that we make fewer films, with limited budgets”, insists Sandrine Brauer, according to whom this census made it possible to “Propose concrete measures for more parity”.
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In the world of cinema, four years after #metoo, the slow and winding road to greater parity