Shortly after Cannes announced its 2022 Official Selections, Variety published an interview with the festival’s artistic director Thierry Fremaux. Fremaux provided interesting perspectives on topics as varied as the politics surrounding Russia’s war on Ukraine, the chronic lack of representation for female directors in the Cannes competition, and the festival’s continued resistance to including titles from streamers.
Regarding Russia and Ukraine, Fremaux has resisted calls to boycott work from Russian filmmakers. Most notably, TCHAIKOVSY’S WIFE by acclaimed Russian filmmaker Kirill Serebrennikov has been included in the competition. Fremaux does not agree with the call to boycott, citing Serebrennikov’s criticism of Russia’s government and the fact that only this year has he been allowed to leave Russia to attend Cannes, after years of the Russian government denying his requests. Fremaux added, “We don’t give in to political correctness, we don’t give in to cultural boycott. We go on a case-by-case basis.”
On Cannes’ checkered record of including the work of very few female directors, Fremaux pointed out that all the top prizes last year went to women, including Julia Ducournau winning the Palme D’Or for TITANE.
Fremaux also explains that for years he himself has encouraged the festival to include streaming titles in its lineup. While he understands exhibitors’ concerns – Fremaux manages a movie theater in Lyon – he also sees that the festival should not be making decisions only to support exhibitors. “I’m not paid by exhibitors. So my role is to think of the way in which the Cannes Film Festival must position itself. I make proposals and the board decides. So far, I haven’t succeeded in convincing them.”