Queen of Cannes urges support for female director

The lack of women behind the camera is still a major problem, Nicole Kidman has said. She told the Cannes Film Festival it’s “a given” that female actors have to support female directors.

The Australian actress, who has four projects at Cannes, was speaking as she promoted Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled.

It stars Colin Farrell as an injured soldier taken in by a female boarding school in America’s deep south during the civil war.

The remake of a 1971 film starring Clint Eastwood differs from the original in that it is told from the female point of view.

Farrell joked he was the “token male” – with Kidman adding: “He comes and ruins everything.”

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Things have certainly taken a turn for the better for Kidman since her last time in Cannes, when she starred in the flop ‘Grace of Monaco’, which opened the 2014 edition

A surgeon’s wife. A 1977 punk. A Civil War era headmistress. A feminist lesbian mother. It’s been quite a Cannes for Nicole Kidman. Returning to a film festival where she’s experienced extreme highs and the odd low in the past, the Australian star has graced the Croisette this past week with three films and a television project. Two in competition, two out of it, Kidman’

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Don Siegel’s 1971 Civil War drama “The Beguiled,” starring Clint Eastwood as a wounded Union soldier hiding out at a girls’ boarding school in rural Mississippi, is a quintessential film of the early ’70s — and by that, I don’t mean it’s any sort of masterpiece. Far from it. It’s a crudely lit piece of baroque Gothic exploitation, “gripping” yet overwrought, and it basically has the plot of a porn film. Eastwood’s character falls into one bed after another, and he receives a shockingly cruel punishment when Geraldine Page, as the turned-on but repressed headmistress, makes the vengeful decision to amputate his injured leg for dubious medical reasons. “The Beguiled” is like a mediocre Tennessee Williams play staged by Sam Peckinpah as a third-wave-feminist horror film. Yet there’s no denying it’s a picture of its time.

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