It was billed as the year in which female film-makers and women's issues would be in the spotlight. The festival opened with a film by a female director for the first time in 28 years, Isabella Rossellini chaired the Un Certain Regard jury and Salma Hayek convened a high-profile panel to discuss the role of women in cinema. There was plenty to talk about – but had anything really changed? The numbers seemed to speak for themselves: of the 19 films in competition, only two were directed by women. And then came 'Heelgate' – of which, more later… Faced with suggestions that the festival is sexist, artistic director Thierry Frémaux was having none of it. Cannes was being held to an unfairly high standard, he claimed, one not applied to other festivals like Venice or Berlin. His suggestion? Instead, people should “attack the Oscars”.
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The show was a potent reminder that the sexual revolution and women entering the work force and the rise of consumerism and the Age of Aquarius (all that) had a dark side, and claimed their own victims. That’s part of why it was such a powerful show.
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The questions New Yorkers ask the column are dictated not only by their individual circumstances but also by the larger issues of the day, like rising housing costs, gentrification and shoddy construction. In the end, 2014 was a year of things going up — home prices, rents and, above all, buildings, with 16,700 units approved for construction through October, according to the Real Estate Board of New York.