Sofia Coppola has just joined a very exclusive group thanks to her significant win at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.
Coppola received the win for Best Director for her film The Beguiled, becoming only the second woman to do so. The Beguiled is a thriller starring Nicole Kidman and Kirsten Dunst, centering around a woman who runs a Southern girls’ boarding school during the Civil War.
The first-ever Best Director win for a woman at Cannes was bestowed upon Yuliya Solntseva, a Soviet director who earned the honor for her 1961 drama Chronicle of Flaming Years. Coppola has now joined Solntseva as a fellow honoree, with the scarce population of this group speaking to Cannes’ lack of female director representation amongst winners.
CNN reported that “Jane Campion, who won the Palme d’Or – the highest prize at the Cannes film festival – for 1993’s The Piano, told Vulture in an interview … that the lack of female filmmaker representation among the top winners was ‘insane.’” Campion is the only woman to have won the Palme d’Or.
Coppola’s speech thanked Campion for “being a role model and supporting women filmmakers.”
Coppola’s win certainly marks a progressive moment in the film festival’s 70-year history. The Beguiled was named one of IndieWire’s ten best movies of Cannes 2017.
Coppola is the daughter of acclaimed director Francis Ford Coppola, best known for directing The Godfather parts I, II, and III. Sofia mentioned in an interview for Cannes that she felt lucky to have such a great teacher, and that she spent lots of time on her father’s sets with her brother as a child.
The Beguiled premieres in theaters on June 23, and is based on Thomas P. Cullinan’s novel “A Painted Devil” as well as the Don Siegel 1971 feature adaptation of the story. Deadline reported that “Coppola convinced Universal to pull the film out of their archives as she wanted ‘to do the version of the same story from a woman’s point of view.’”
This “woman’s point of view” has now earned Coppola Best Director at Cannes’ 70th annual festival, fifty-six years after Solntseva’s premier success.
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