• Sofia Coppola at the Cannes photocall for 'The Beguiled' (AAP)Source: AAP
'The Beguiled' director becomes only second woman to win the directing prize in the event's 70 years.
SBS Movies

29 May 2017 - 1:03 PM  UPDATED 29 May 2017 - 1:04 PM

The 2017 Cannes Film Festival came to a close on Sunday night with the Palme d'Or ceremony and the history-making announcement of a best director prize for Sofia Coppola, for The Beguiled.

Coppola's award makes her only the second female director in the festival’s 70-year history to claim the prize. The last woman to win Best Director was Soviet filmmaker Yuliya Solntseva in 1961 for The Chronicle of Flaming Years.

Coppola's adaptation of a 1971 film by Don Siegel, is a Southern Gothic saga starring Nicole Kidman as the stern governess of an all-girl-school, who takes in a wounded Union soldier during the Civil War. Elle Fanning and Kirsten Dunst also star, and Colin Farrell plays the wounded man.

The Beguiled premieres in Australia at the Sydney Film Festival next month, where it is in contention for the Sydney Film Prize. 

On the festival’s jury was actor, Jessica Chastain, who told reporters after the announcement that more women storytellers needed to be represented at film festivals.

"The one thing I really took away from this experience, is how the world views women, from the female characters that I saw represented, and I was quite disturbing to me, to be honest,” she said.

“I do hope that when we include more female storytellers we will have more of the women that I recognise in my day to day life, ones that are proactive that have their own agencies, don't just react to the men around them, they have their own point of view."

Here are the films competing for the 2017 Sydney Film Festival's top prize
The competition for the 64th Film Festival boasts some big names.
Nicole Kidman takes on Colin Farrell in 'The Beguiled' trailer
Colin Farrel's feels the full wrath of Nicole Kidman in Sophia Coppola's Southern Gothic drama.