Edited By Christopher Brown and Pam Hirsch
15 ‘The sea nymphs tested this miracle’: Water Lilies (2007) and the Origin of Coral
In September 2012, Cahiers du Cinéma devoted its issue to the question of women filmmakers. This followed the same summer’s Cannes film festival where there were no films by women directors in competition. A voice that stands out in their debate belongs to French director, Céline Sciamma. She studied screenwriting at the Paris film school La Fémis; Sciamma has made two feature films to date, her swimming pool film Water Lilies (2007), Tomboy (2011), also a beautiful short film against homophobia Pauline (2010). Water Lilies was shown in the ‘Un Certain Regard’ selection at Cannes in 2007 and later won the Louis Delluc award for a first film. Tomboy was shown at Berlin in 2011. For Sciamma, women’s cinema is not an issue of aesthetics, but of politics.1 For her there is no female gaze or gesture in filmmaking; the question is rather one of point of view. She notes that at Cannes there were very few younger filmmakers with films in competition in 2012 as well. She argues that it is important politically for Cannes to be open to younger filmmakers as well as to women.2
Sciamma’s two feature films to date both take childhood and adolescence as their subject. Jean-Marc Lalanne, reviewing Water Lilies in Les Inrockuptibles comments on the cinematic aptness of this choice in a French context, referencing films...