Cannes Film Festival is one of the wildest and most groundbreaking award ceremonies, however, has been ridiculed for the gender skew in its official selection and jury composition. So, the 74th edition of the festival, held in a pandemic has made a deliberate attempt to address the issue.

This time, women have made history by winning five of the major prizes awarded across the festival's sections. Women not only swept the top awards but also represented every part of the world in the process, giving a blow to diversity.

For the first time in the festival's history, women made up the majority of Spike Lee's main International Feature Films Competition Jury - five out of nine. The jury included Mati Diop, Mylene Farmer, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jessica Hausner, and Melanie Laurent, in addition to the three other males on the panel - Kleber Mendonca Filho, Tahar Rahim, and Song Kang-ho.

The three women on the Un Certain Regard Jury were president Andrea Arnold, director-screenwriter Mounia Meddour, and actor Elsa Zylberstein. Filmmaker Daniel Burman and director-producer-actor Michael Covino were the other two members.

Two additional festival juries were also led by women, one for the Camera d'Or prize and the other for Cinefondation and Short Films- the former by actor Melanie Thierry and the latter by filmmaker Kaouther Ben Hania.

From Julia Ducournau to Tang Yi, here are the five women who made history at Cannes Film Festival.

Also Read: Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece ‘Inception’ completes its 11 years

Julia Ducournau- Won Palme d’Or for Titane


The 37year-old French filmmaker Julia Ducournau became the second-ever female director to take home the Palme d'Or with her audacious Titane. 

The last time a woman won the award was in 1993 when Jane Campion's The Piano and Chen Kaige's Farewell My Concubine tied for the lead.

Titane is a genre film about a serial killer who is impregnated by a car and then disguises himself as the son of a lonely firefighter. According to one critic, the movie is "a frightening yet mischievously hilarious barrage of sex, violence, lurid lighting, and pounding music."

On winning the top prize, Ducournau said, “There is so much beauty and emotion that can be found in what cannot be pigeonholed."

Kira Kovalenko- Un Certain Regard Prize for Unclenching the Fists


'Unclenching the Fists,' a film by Russian filmmaker Kira Kovalenko, won the Un Certain Regard category at Cannes on Friday, taking the top award in the film festival's art-focused section.

The thriller is set in a small mining town in Russia's southern province of North Ossetia. It depicts the tale of a young woman attempting to break away from the clutches of her family.

The 31-year-old rising star of Russian cinema has written and directed the film.

Apart from Kovalenko, French-Tunisian actress-director Hafsia Herzi and Romanian-Belgian director Teodora Ana Mihai are the two women who have snagged the awards in this section, Ensemble Prize for Bonne Mere (Good Mother) Courage Prize for La Civil, respectively.

Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic- Camera d’or for best debut (Murina)


For Murina, the Croatian director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic received the Camera d'Or for best debut film at the Cannes Film Festival. The Camera d'Or is one Cannes prize that has not excluded female directors. 

Several other women have had their names inscribed on the trophy, including India's Mira Nair (Salaam Bombay!, 1988) and Hungary's Ildiko Enyedi (My 20th Century, 1989).

Payal Kapadia- Oeil d'Or for the best documentary (A Night of Knowing Nothing)


Mumbai- born Payal Kapadia has accomplished what no other Indian filmmaker has done before. She was awarded the Oeil d'Or (Golden Eye) for best documentary at the Cannes Film Festival. 

A Night of Knowing Nothing is an experimental epistolary docu-fiction set against the backdrop of a student movement.

Payal Kapadia is the third woman to win the Oeil d'Or in the award's six-year history. 

Tang Yi- Palme d'Or for Short Films (All the Crows in the World)


Hong Kong’s Tang Yi, a New York student has bagged the 2021 Palme d'Or for Short Films with her 14 minutes short film, All the Crows in the World.

Her short film features an 18-year-old student. The girl is invited to a party by her cousin which is filled with jaded middle ages men. The girl is naturally startled. But one of the men is unlike the others. As the night wears on, an unusual friendship develops between the two.

You Might Also Like