Film
Photo by Dominique Charriau/WireImage via Getty Images.

Cannes 2019: Mati Diop Snags Grand Prix Award and a Netflix Acquisition for 'Atlantique'

The Senegalese-French filmmaker has surely made her mark as the 72nd Cannes Festival comes to a close.

This year's Cannes Film Festival came to a end this past weekend with jury president Alejandro González Iñárritu presenting the awards for the competition program, un certain regard and other prizes.

Mati Diop's Atlantique was the film to watch during the festival, as the Senegalese-French filmmaker is the first black woman to be included in the competition. Diop and Malian filmmaker Ladj Ly were the only African filmmakers in this year's competition as well (Ly took home the Jury Prize for his film Les Misérables, tied with Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles' film Bacurau).

Diop surely made her mark at the festival, winning the Grand Prix award for the film, Variety reports.

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Op-Ed
Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images.

Black Women Are the Future of French Cinema—When Will Cannes Catch Up?

In this op-ed, OkayAfrica contributor Aude Konan reflects on the progression of diversity in French cinema a year after the Noire N'est Pas Mon Métier demonstration at Cannes Film Festival.

A year ago, 16 French actresses of African descent walked the red carpet at Cannes to talk about a new project they authored, Noire N'est Pas Mon Métier (Being Black Is Not My Job), where they shared their experiences with racism and sexism in the film industry.

In an era where the movements #MeToo and #OscarsSoWhite gained global momentum and led to some change in the Academy Awards, it was a first considering that outside of Aissa Maïga, French actresses seldom get any visibility and speaking out against racism put them at risk of being blacklisted, like the actor Luc Saint Eloi's unfortunate experience 20 years ago.

The red carpet moment was generally well received in France and in the rest of the world, with the main actresses getting large media coverage with features in Le Monde, Le Figaro and even Vogue U.S. The presidents of the Cannes Film Festival welcomed the actresses. No promises were made by any of the gatekeepers in French cinema, but the actresses were hopeful.

Since the book's release, the actresses have been busy working, some of them lucky enough to be able to portray fully fledged characters, others being reduced to play the "black woman" stereotype over and over again. Recently, one of them, Karidja Touré, well known for being in the film Girlhood, mentioned that she was pretty good at mimicking an "African accent." Semantics aside—and the fact that there is no such a thing as an African accent, as Africa is still not a country—it is pretty revealing: despite the wonderful coverage these actresses had, has the movement contributed to any change?

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