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  • Writer's pictureAlexa Bouhelier-Ruelle

Greta Gerwig to president over the 77th Festival de Cannes jury

Following a year in which she beat every record with “Barbie”, the American director, screenwriter, and actress will preside over the 2024 Cannes Film Festival, taking place 14-25 May.


Greta Gerwig, "No Strings Attached" Premiere. Photo: Gordon Vasquez of RealTVfilms, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Considered by many as a heroine of our modern times, Greta Gerwig shakes up the status quo between a highly codified cinema industry and an era that is demanding greater expansiveness. And she’s a cinephile. In a statement about her new appointment as Jury President, she gushed about her passion for the 7th art: 


“I love films - I love making them, I love going to them, I love talking about them. As a cinephile, Cannes has always been the pinnacle of what the universal language of movies can be. Being in the place of vulnerability, in a dark theatre filled with strangers, watching a brand-new film is my favorite place to be. I am stunned and thrilled and humbled to be serving as the president of the Cannes Film Festival Jury. I cannot wait to see what journeys are in store for all of us!”.


In less than fifteen years, Greta Gerwig has gained recognition not only in American cinema but also cinema worldwide. Originally from Sacramento, California, but a New Yorker by adoption, she who dreamed of being a playwright has crafted her own path, with both consistency and a taste for risk, toward the heights of brilliance.


Yesterday, ambassador of independent American cinema, today at the summit of worldwide box-office success, Greta Gerwig manages to combine what was previously judged to be incompatible: delivering arthouse blockbusters, narrowing the gap between art and industry, exploring contemporary issues with deft as well as depth, and declaring her demanding artistic ambition from within an economic model that she embraces in order to put to better use.


Whether acting, writing, or directing, her artistic endeavours have recurrent leitmotifs, such as family upheaval, adolescent rites of passage, fear of loss of social status or the emergence of artistic vocation via characters that are free, sometimes fragile and marginal, but also fierce.


Greta Gerwig in 5 films

Starting out as an actress, Greta Gerwig transformed into a screenwriter, working on a variety of projects until finally turning to directing:

  1. "Hannah Takes the Stairs" (2007)

  2. "Frances Ha" (2012)

  3. "Lady Bird" (2017) - A striking, tender and melancholic portrait of the torments of adolescence - was nominated for 5 Academy Awards, including Best Director.

  4. "Little Women" (2019) - Greta Gerwig ambitiously took hold of the 1868 American literature classic of the same name, by Louisa May Alcott. Again with the intention of taking a fresh look at all of the story’s female protagonists, Gerwig better examines their emancipation in a world dominated by men. In a double reading, the director also undertakes a subtle examination of her own place within the cinema system and the compromises required in terms of commercial success to appeal to a mass audience.

  5. "Barbie" (2023) - The tornado that is this film, ploughs the same furrow in even more spectacular fashion, by facing up to that ambivalent idol of small girls, a symbol of the female-as-object, but also of woman-emancipated. In this fierce satire about the human condition, Greta Gerwig nails everyday sexism, and stereotypes, with joyful intent. An international cultural phenomenon, “Barbie” was the biggest success of 2023 and has made Greta Gerwig the most bankable female film director in history.

 

The first American female director to take on the role of Jury President at the Festival de Cannes, Greta Gerwig, at the age of 40, adds another record to her considerable list of awards: that of becoming the youngest person to take on the task since Sofia Loren (at only 31) in 1966; the second female director since Jane Campion in 2014; and the second American woman after Olivia de Haviland as the first female Jury President in 1965.


“This is an obvious choice, since Greta Gerwig so audaciously embodies the renewal of world cinema, for which Cannes is each year both the forerunner and the sounding board”, said Iris Knobloch, Festival President, with Thierry Frémaux as the General Delegate. “Beyond the 7th Art, she is also the representative of an era that is breaking down barriers and mixing genres, and thereby elevating the values of intelligence and humanism.”

 

 

 

 


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