Cannes film festival 2021: Irish-produced movie secures place in prestigious Directors’ Fortnight

Element Pictures’ The Souvenir Part II stars Honor Swinton Byrne and Tilda Swinton

Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir Part II, produced by the Irish company Element Pictures, has secured a place in the prestigious Directors’ Fortnight (Quinzaine des Réalisateurs) strand at the upcoming Cannes film festival.

Starring Honor Swinton Byrne and Tilda Swinton, the lead's mother, the film builds on the action of The Souvenir, a critical sensation in 2019, to follow the career of a young British film-maker as she makes her way through the closing years of the last century. Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe, founders of Element, join their colleague Emma Norton as producers on a project developed in conjunction with BBC Film and the British Film Institute.

Presented at the Théâtre Croisette, a few hundred metres from the Palais des Festivals, Directors' Fortnight has, since 1968, introduced attendees to some of the world's great film-makers. Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, Jim Jarmusch and Chloé Zhao have all premiered films there. In 2007, Guiney, later Oscar-nominated for Room and The Favourite, brought Lenny Abrahamson's Garage to Directors' Fortnight.

Directors' Fortnight is ground zero for auteur film-making. It is for those who are working on the cutting edge of the form. It's about pushing boundaries

“Directors’ Fortnight is ground zero for auteur film-making,” Guiney says. “It’s run by French film-makers, and it’s there to highlight the work of the most interesting film-makers working internationally. It is for those who are working on the cutting edge of the form. It’s about pushing boundaries. Quinzaine is about celebrating the most interesting film-makers in the world in all their glory.”


Like so many other grand events during the coronavirus pandemic, Cannes was cancelled last year, but the 2021 festival, which begins on July 6th, is going ahead with a full programme. Testing will be available, and attendees will be required to show proof of vaccination or of a negative result.

“It is the first big postpandemic festival,” Guiney says. “It is going to be exciting to be one of the first films out for the world to see as we are getting back to something like normality.”

Paolo Moretti, delegate general of Directors' Fortnight, announced a typically international selection from the Forum des Images in Paris. "After a very painful year for everyone we are happy to present a selection of discovery," he said. Twenty-four of the directors included in the feature section are making their first visit to Cannes. Among those returning are the gifted English director Clio Barnard, whose The Selfish Giant won the Europa Cinemas prize at Directors' Fortnight in 2013. Barnard's Ali & Ava stars Adeel Akhtar and Claire Rushbrook as a couple pursuing a complicated romance in the director's native Yorkshire.

The section will begin with a screening of Emmanuel Carrère’s Between Two Worlds, an adaptation of Florence Aubenas’s social study Le Quai de Ouistreham. Twelve of the 24 films are directed or codirected by Women. This compares starkly with the main competition down La Croisette, where women have made just four of the 24 films vying for the Palme d’Or.


A Chiara, directed by Jonas Carpignano
Ali & Ava, directed by Clio Barnard
Clara Sola, directed by Nathalie Álvarez Mesen
De Bas Etages (A Brighter Tomorrow), directed by Yassine Qnia
Diarios de Otsoga (The Tsugua Diaries), directed by Miguel Gomes and Maureen Fazendeiro
El Empleado y el Patron (The Employer and the Employee), directed by Manuel Nieto Zas
Entre les Vagues (The Braves), directed by Anaïs Volpé
Europa, directed by Haider Rashid
Futura, directed by Pietro Marcello, Alice Rohrwacher and Francesco Munzi
Jadde Khaki (Hit the Road), directed by Panah Panahi
Intregalde, directed by Radu Muntean
Luaneshat e Kodres (The Hill Where Lionesses Roar), directed by Luàna Bajrami
Les Magnétiques (Magnetic Beats), directed by Vincent Maël Cardona
Medusa, directed by Anita Rocha da Silveira
Murina, directed by Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic
Neptune Frost, directed by Saul Williams and Anisia Uzeyman
A Night of Knowing Nothing, directed by Payal Kapadia
Re Granchio (The Tale of King Crab), directed by Alessio Rigo de Righi and Matteo Zoppis
Retour a Reims (Fragments), directed by Jean-Gabriel Périot
Yong An Zhen Gu Shi Ji (Ripples of Life), directed by Shujun Wei
The Sea Ahead, directed by Ely Daghe
The Souvenir Part II, directed by Joanna Hogg

Cannes film festival runs from July 6th until July 17th