For the first time in its history a female director will open the Cannes Festival. “La Tête haute,” (“head held up high” in the original French) a film by a Frenchwoman, Emmanuelle Bercot, will open the 68th edition of the Cannes Festival, according to the press release received just moments ago from the festival’s press office.

“La Tête haute” is a coming-of-age story about a juvenile delinquent who haphazardly goes from age 6 to 18 while a juvy judge and social worker try to save him.

Film was shot in the Nord-Pas de Calais, Rhône-Alpes and Paris area regions, and star Catherine Deneuve, Benoît Magimel, Sara Forestier and Rod Paradot, in the lead role (Deneuve plays the role of the judge).

“The choice of this film may seem surprising, given the rules generally applied to the Festival de Cannes Opening Ceremony,” explains Thierry Frémaux, the festival’s director. “It is a clear reflection of our desire to see the Festival start with a different piece, which is both bold and moving.” (…)

The world première of La Tête haute will be shown in the Grand Théâtre Lumière in the Palais des Festivals, and will be released in French cinemas the same day, on Wednesday 13 May.

Bercot, 47, began her career in cinema in 1994 and has worked with such filmmakers as Bertrand Tavernier, Claude Lelouch and Benoit Jacquot.

Bercot has worked as both screenwriter and filmmaker. She notably co-wrote “Polisse,” (directed by Maïwenn), a film that subsequently garnered numerous awards.

(from left to right) Karin Viard, Marina Foïs and Emmanuelle Bercot

(from left to right) Karin Viard, Marina Foïs and Emmanuelle Bercot in 2011’s “Polisse”