Calling out male critics at Cannes

Calling out male critics at Cannes

Calling out male critics at Cannes

Mia Bays responds to the bias displayed by certain male critics at Cannes Film Festival…
The critical reaction in certain quarters to the Nicole García film From the Land of the Moon, starring Marion Cotillard, at its Cannes premiere highlights exactly why we need more female critics and champions of work by women.

Why does one male critic feel he can say the film “depicts a regressive view of female desire”? How the hell would he know? Jesus – is nothing out of the expert reaches of the alpha male? Here’s a great example of the male gaze being wholly at odds with the female gaze. And the position taken is “it’s crap” rather than “I don’t get it”.

They have totally missed the point of the film as far as I’m concerned, because you know what ? They are not the audience. But I am. So I feel some authority coming on….

The film is an empathetic, experiential and interior look at a girl then woman’s desire to experience and understand love and its myriad aspects. And have agency in this, at a time when this was not an easy ambition to fulfill. It’s not about female desire – that’s just an aspect of love and one part of her journey to knowing herself.

Others have disputed the ‘plot twist’. It’s not The Sixth Sense. Nor trying to be. Stop jonesing on your filmmaking parlance and be in the story not outside it. It’s a revelation not a twist, where the audience at the same time as the protagonist realise she has been living with a false memory for years. It’s devastating but then it sets her free. This happens. I know so many examples of this in women’s lives. It’s got to be overt to illustrate, but really what it ends up being about is a woman finally rejecting the romantic ideals that hold so many women in uncomfortable, unhappy, unfulfilled spaces (men too).

It’s all part of a very well-crafted maturation of a character who does something very rare in the movies: she sees what she has and accepts that it works. The critic goes on to criticise why this and indeed all the director’s work “deserved” the platform of Cannes.

*mouth open, speechless*

I’m all for open season and freedom of opinion flow, but this is conscious bias at its most pernicious and really gets on my very female tits.


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