Barbie director Greta Gerwig to head Cannes 2024 jury

The Cannes Film Festival has chosen American filmmaker Greta Gerwig to preside over its 77th edition next May. Her latest film, Barbie, is a huge worldwide success, making her the most bankable director in Hollywood history. A figurehead of American auteur cinema, she embodies the hope of a revival in world cinema.


I am overwhelmed, excited and humbled to become President of the Cannes Film Festival Jury. I can’t wait to discover what journeys await us,” says the talented Greta Gerwig in a festival press release.


An icon of the independent woman, the 40-year-old director, who has also written screenplays and acted in some 20 films, will succeed Sweden’s Ruben Östlund, whose jury awarded the Palme d’Or to Anatomie d’une chute, in 2023, from May 14 to 25.


She is the first American filmmaker to take on the role of President of the Cannes Film Festival Jury.

Her presence brings a touch of youth to the Croisette. Indeed, Cannes hasn’t had a younger president since Sophia Loren turned 31…in 1966.


Her role in this prestigious position, in which men are over-represented, is a remarkable one. She is the second American after actress Olivia de Havilland, the first female President of the Jury in 1965. And she is the second female director after Jane Campion in 2014.

“I love films deeply, she confides fervently in a festival press release. I love making them, I love going to see them, I love talking about them for hours. As a cinephile, Cannes has always been for me the pinnacle of what the universal language of film can represent.”


In less than fifteen years, Greta Gerwig has made her mark on American and international cinema. A native of Sacramento, California, and a New Yorker by adoption, Greta Gerwig, who dreamed of becoming a playwright, has followed a singular path, as coherent as it is risky, that has now consecrated her meteoric rise.


Representative of early feminism


Greta Gerwig was the obvious choice for Festival President Iris Knobloch and General Delegate Thierry Frémaux. Greta Gerwig boldly embodies the renewal of world cinema. Beyond the 7th art, she also appears as the representative of an era that abolishes borders and mixes genres to make intelligence and humanism triumph.”


The Barbie movie, released in July 2023, tops the billion-dollar mark at the global box office.


In fact, the film Barbie, released in July 2023, confronts the idol of little girls, both symbol of the woman-object and muse of emancipated women. In this ferocious satire on the human condition, Greta Gerwig nails ordinary male sexism and stereotypes with unabashed glee. It’s a journey back to the 60s, illustrating women’s struggle for moral, financial, cultural and sexual independence. An abysmal retrospective of how far we’ve come to 2024.


The film won over a very large audience, but also created controversy. Authorized in Saudi Arabia, but censored in Kuwait, Barbie highlights the divisions between Arab countries, between openness and conservatism.

Mattel’s famous doll was certainly shunned at the 81st Golden Globes ceremony, held in Los Angeles on January 7. Nominated nine times, the feminist satire Barbie had to make do with two awards. It received the brand-new Golden Globes for “Best Commercial Success”, a logical award given its overwhelming dominance at the box office in 2023. It also won the award for “Best Original Song” (What was I made for you?).


Nevertheless, with this film, Greta Gerwig became the most bankable director in Hollywood history, the first to break the billion-dollar barrier ($1.44 billion to be precise, or 1.3 billion euros) at the global box office.


By appointing Greta Gerwig, the directors of the Cannes Film Festival are confirming their ties with the powerful and inescapable American film industry.


Emblema of American independent cinema


Today, Greta Gerwig is recognized as an icon of American independent cinema. In her work, she deals with recurring themes such as family turmoil, the passage to adulthood, the fear of social decline and the birth of an artistic vocation, through characters who are free, sometimes fragile and marginal, but determined.


As soon as she began acting, she began working as a screenwriter and collaborator. She co-wrote Hannah Takes the Stairs (2007) and Nights and Weekends (2008), then Frances Ha (2012), Mistress America (2015) and of course Barbie (2023) with Noah Baumbach, her partner and writing partner.


Her very first solo work, Lady Bird (2017), is a tender, melancholy tale of the torments of adolescence. The film received five Oscar nominations, including for Best Director.


For her second film in 2020, with Les Quatre Filles du Docteur March (Little Women), Greta Gerwig directs excellent actors, including the great Meryl Streep, in a new adaptation of Louisa May Alcoot’s book. She questions the emancipation of women in a man’s world. Using a superimposed reading, the director subtly questions her own place in the cinematic system, and the compromises she has to make to reach as many people as possible commercially.


But that doesn’t seem to affect her independent spirit! Warner Studios and Mattel are rewarded for their audacity by casting Greta Gerwig, one of the leading faces of the post-MeToo era, to direct the Barbie movie. They spent $100 million on the candy-pink blockbuster. The Barbie movie became a global tidal wave that even the most optimistic producers would never have dared to imagine.


New projects? Greta Gerwig is now preparing an adaptation of The World of Narnia for Netflix.


Let’s wish her “Bonne pioche!” in Cannes.


The other members of the 2024 jury have yet to be announced. The films in the official competition will be announced in mid-April.




Featured photo : © Presse

Corine Moriou a été Grand Reporter pour le groupe L’Express pendant 15 ans. Aujourd’hui, elle exerce son métier en tant que journaliste indépendante. Ses domaines de prédilection sont les sujets de société, la culture, les voyages, le bien-être. Jamais blasée, toujours prête !


Luxus Magazine recommends

Luxus Magazine N°8

Now available