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Top image: still from Sofia Coppola’s‘ The Beguiled’ is in cinemas 23rd June. 

On Sunday, Sofia Coppola picked up the best director prize at Cannes, landing an epoch-making win by becoming only the second female director to do so in the event’s 70-year history.

Though many significant works by female directors have passed through the festival, they’re rarely rewarded during the closing prize ceremony. This is an issue that is rooted in the wider politics of the film industry; gender inequality is evident on every level as men continue to makeup the majority of the highest paid and most executive positions. The only other female director to win was Yuliya Solntseva, a Russian director who earned the award for her 1961 drama Chronicle of Flaming Years.

Coppola was honoured for directing her film The Beguiled, a thriller starring Nicole Kidman as a woman who runs a Southern girls’ boarding school during the Civil War. The film also features Coppola’s longtime muse Kirsten Dunst who plays a teacher and appears alongside Elle Fanning who plays a student.

In her acceptance speech, Coppola thanked Jane Campion for being a role model, being the only female director to have ever won the coveted Palme d’Or for best film. Lets hope that Coppola’s victory has raised awareness and keeps the topic of gender inequality in the film industry a perennial talking point.