Cannes, France: It has been won by big-name Hollywood directors and is headed by one of France’s top comic stars, but the “Queer Palm” prize which celebrates LGBTQ movies at Cannes still has no official place at the world’s top film festival.
Awards for films with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer content are already an integral part of other major movie gatherings, including Berlin which has handed out its “Teddy Award” since 1987 and made it part of its official program.
Not so at Cannes, where the festival’s leadership won’t even allow the “Queer Palm” — which has been running for a decade — to set up shop in its main building, the Palais du Festival.
“We’re not ugly ducklings,” actor and director Nicolas Maury, who heads up the “Queer Palm” jury this year, told AFP.
Maury, one of the stars of the hit Netflix show “Call My Agent”, added: “It’s a central prize that doesn’t deserve to be sidelined. I think it would be a good idea for it to be part of the official ceremony.”
Maury said the award, created in 2010 and independently financed, is aimed at “courageous films that feature openness and humanity” where people who are often discriminated against “are finally noticed and listened to”.
Past winners include Todd Haynes for “Carol” and Xavier Dolan for “Laurence Anyways”. “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” by Celine Sciamma won at the last Cannes in 2019.
This year’s shortlist of 26 movies includes Paul Verhoeven’s “Benedetta” — vying for the Palme d’Or in the main Cannes competition — which tells the story of a lesbian nun in 17th-century Italy.
“Compartment No 6” by Juho Kuosmanen of Finland and “The Divide” by French director Catherine Corsini, which both feature lesbian lead characters, are also in the running, as is the gender-fluid shocker “Titane” by Julia Ducournau and several others spread over the festival’s various categories.
“Queer Palm” founder Franck Finance-Madureira told AFP he was delighted that this year’s Cannes selections made for rich pickings for his prize shortlist.
“This shows that queer themes are more and more prevalent in films,” he said.
The “Queer Palm” will be awarded late Friday with Cannes’ big official prizes awarded on Saturday night.