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The women directors to know, follow and appreciate

The Cannes Film Festival has not exhausted our desire for cinema

The women directors to know, follow and appreciate The Cannes Film Festival has not exhausted our desire for cinema

The Cannes Festival 2024 has just ended, with its red carpets, controversies, and glitter. The Palme d'Or went to Anora by Sean Baker, the Grand Prix was awarded to All We Imagine as Light by Payal Kapadia, and the Jury Prize went to Emilia Perez by Jacques Audiard. Let's take advantage of this international cinema vibe and, while wondering why Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is doing so poorly at the US box office, explore the world of the seventh art, inspired by the latest winning female directors at Cannes and beyond. Here are the female directors we think you should know, watch, and appreciate. Besides Greta Gerwig and Paola Cortellesi, whom we are big fans of anyway.

Alice Rohrwacher

Her La Chimera has captivated the world but not the David di Donatello awards. Exhibitions of her art are organized in France, and rightly so. The worlds Alice Rohrwacher creates are fairy-tale-like yet deeply human, surreal yet grounded, particularly in her homeland, Tuscany. Yet they soar, moving from the province to the world, appealing to the delicacy, magic, and empathy within every human being. Recommended films: La Chimera, Lazzaro Felice.

Julia Ducournau

We couldn’t be further from Rohrwacher’s delicate and metaphysical journey through existence. Titane, Ducournau's most famous and acclaimed film (Palme d'Or at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival), is a dark fairy tale, an exploration of the relationship between man and machine, between man and woman, between father and daughter, sparing nothing, not even body horror and erotica, which are often closer than they seem. It’s not for everyone, and that’s okay. Recommended films: Titane, Raw - A Crude Truth.

Payal Kapadia

Payal Kapadia is an Indian director and documentarian dedicated to portraying the lives of her country and its women. Kapadia isn’t afraid to play with genre, blurring narrative lines. She also boldly addresses caste issues and talks about love. In her hands, the documentary genre becomes malleable, fluid, and, starting from real events (such as letters between two students), even fantastical. This approach leads to her first dramatic film, All We Imagine as Light, the first Indian film in competition at the Cannes Festival since 1994. Recommended films: A Night of Knowing Nothing, All We Imagine as Light.

Raine Allen-Miller

Raine Allen-Miller has directed only one film, but it was enough to earn her a spot on this list. Rye Lane, a quirky and tender romantic comedy, realistic and well-written, succeeds in touching and surprising audiences while doubling as a love letter to the city of London and the places that make our lives special. This film premiered at Sundance and then streamed on Disney+. Highly recommended, needless to say.

Wanuri Kahiu

Her Rafiki in 2018 amazed the international film community. This Kenyan director chose to tell the love story between two girls, Kena and Ziki, unfolding amidst societal pressures, including those from family and friends, as well as the existing challenges in Kenya regarding LGBT+ rights. A courageous film in many ways, visually included. Kahiu is also a versatile director. After Rafiki, she directed the drama Look Both Ways for Netflix, starring Lili Reinhart, which explores the concept of destiny. Recommended films: Rafiki, Look Both Ways.