Semaine de la Critique

Semaine de la Critique

La Semaine de la Critique (International Critics Week) is a parallel section of the Cannes Film Festival focused on discovering new talents and revealing first and second feature films.

La Semaine de la Critique Dates: May 17, 2023 - May 25, 2023


  • To highlight first and second features directed by filmmakers from all around the world.
  • To enable French critics to fight for and explore young film creation the best they can. 
  • To support today’s revelations in order to have them become tomorrow’s talents. 
  • To pay great attention to short and medium length films, first steps in the career of a director.

Each year, La Semaine de la Critique (International Critics' Week) manifests its role as a talent scout in a selection of ten short films and ten feature films presented during the Cannes Film Festival.

244 critics, writers, and journalists are members. Its aim is to maintain member fellowship, defend their moral and material interests, guarantee cinema criticism and speech freedom, and support film creativity through year-round events.

La Semaine de la Critique is organized by the French Union of Film Critics.

La Semaine de la Critique discovered directors such as Jacques Audiard, Alejandro González Iarritu, Ken Loach, François Ozon, Wong Kar Wai, and, more recently, César Augusto Acevedo, Julia Ducournau, David R. Mitchell, Santiago Mitre, Jeff Nichols, and Rebecca Zlotowski.

Thus, film selection committees comprised of French Union of Film Critics members reveal the very unique universes of emerging talents.

Semaine de la Critique Awards

Each year, the jury awards four prizes:

  1. Grand Prize
  2. Jury's French Touch Prize for feature films
  3. Leitz Cine Discovery Prize for short films
  4. Louis Roederer Foundation Rising Star Award, which recognizes a male or female acting performance.

Semaine de la Critique Partner Awards

Our partners also present awards:

  1. Gan Foundation Award for Distribution
  2. SACD Award
  3. Canal+ Award for Short Film
  4. Caméra d'or is awarded to the best debut feature film. 

La Semaine de la Critique's scope of action includes accompanying the selected short film directors through Next Step, in addition to the Cannes venue.

The directors attend a one-week workshop in December to help them progress toward feature filmmaking.

Selection Committees

Artistic Director

Ava Cahen is the Artistic Director of La Semaine de la Critique. Beforehand, she was a member of the feature film selection committee from 2016 to 2021. Since 2017, she has been running the website and the biannual film magazine FrenchMania. She is also a commentor for the TV programme "Le Cercle" on Canal + and "Le masque et la plume", a radio programme broadcast on France Inter. She has published several books on cinema and series and has participated in many juries such as the Jerusalem Int. Film Lab, Morelia IFF, Fifib, Champs-Elysées Film Festival to name a few.

Feature Films

Marilou Duponchel is a film journalist and critic for Les Inrockuptibles and for the magazine TroisCouleurs.

Damien Leblanc is a journalist and film critic for TroisCouleurs and Premièremagazines, Damien Leblanc was also a contributor for and Le Point pop. He was the programmer and host of the Couleurs de la Toile film club. Damien has been part of several festival juries (including the Biarritz Latin Film Festival and the Cinélatino Festival in Toulouse), and was a Jury member for the French Union of Film Critic’s Award for First French and International Feature Film in 2015. He is also interested in contemporary forms of TV series and published a book in 2017, Les Révolutions de Mad Men

Frédéric Mercier is a Film critic and writer for Transfuge, Positif and FrenchMania magazines. He also contributes to Le Cercle on Canal+. Frédéric teaches film history and film criticism, has worked on many special features for the DVDs of newly restored films and has his own film club in the outskirts of Paris. In 2016, he published his first book, Les écrivains du 7ème art, published by Séguier. 

Olivier Pélisson is journalist and critic of cinema, he writes for Bande à Part, Bref, French Mania and for Canal+ Grand Écran channel. He used to work for Zurban, DvdLive, Monsieurcinéma.comLeCiné and on Top of ths Shorts show on Canal+ Cinéma. Over the years, he has been artistic director (Paris Film Festival), scenario reader (France 2 Cinéma, CNC), he has hosted some film critic workshop (Paris, Cannes, Bakouriani, Erevan), festivals meeting (La Ciotat, Moulins) and has been in international panel, and for the French Union of Film Critics. Olivier Pelisson is one of the contributor of Dictionnaire Eustache published by Léo Sheer editions.

Perrine Quennesson is an independant journalist who writes for several magazines such as CinémaTeaser, Film Français and Trois couleurs. She created and hosts the 7e Science podcast where Science meets cinema (produced by Sorbonne University and Binge Audio). Perrine Quennesson participates in Tchi Tcha and Le Cercle Séries shows, collaborates with many festivals (Lumière, Séries Mania, Champs Elysées Film Festival...) and with VOD plateform (FilmoTV). Beside that, she is a professor at l’Ecole Supérieure d’Etudes Cinématographiques (ESEC) in Paris.

Short Films

Marie-Pauline Mollaret is a film critic for the magazines Bref, L'Avant-Scène Cinema and Ecran Noir. She co-hosts Bulles de rêves program of Radio Libertaire dedicated to animation cinema and takes part of Les Couleurs de la toile movie club's organization. Simultaneously, she works as programmer and is a member of the selection committees of various festivals, including the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, and the PIAFF - the Paris International Animation Film Festival. For the past 6 years, Marie-Pauline was on the short film selection committee of La Semaine de la Critique and is now the committee coordinator.

Chloé Cavillier got a Literature and arts master degree and works with Critikat and Bref reviews. She has been a member of Pantin Côté Court festival’s selection committee for 3 years and she is now the artistic director of Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé and a university lecturer at Paris Nanterre. In 2020, she received the Young Critic Award from the French Union of Film Critics and became a member of the short film committee selection of La Semaine de la Critique in 2022.

Thomas Fouet is a journalist for Les Fiches du cinéma, the co-host of the radio programme Longtemps je me suis couché de bonne heure, and member of the Film singulier jury at the French Union of Film Critics. Thomas Fouet is also the co-founder and former editor-in-chief of the online magazine Cinématraque, the assistant editor of Capsule, the co-creator of the book Les Sortilèges du blockbuster, and has been for three years (2017-2019), a member of the short-film election committee at La Semaine de la Critique.


La Semaine de la Critique, loyal to its objective of knowledge transmission, favors film education programs for young audiences. La Semaine de la Critique organizes educational programs for high school students, apprentices, secondary school kids, and recently, ENSAD students. 

The program includes screenings of short and feature films, discussions with cinema critics and La Semaine de la Critique selection committee members, film analysis, how-to-write-a-film-review courses, and an introduction to film criticism.

Youth Office

La Semaine de la Critique organizes a French-German film criticism workshop from July 12-16 in Cannes with the Franco-German Youth Office (FGYO). Twenty impoverished French and German high schoolers attend this session.

Screenings and writing workshops aim to increase exchange and intercultural dynamics between France and Germany through diversifying audiences. It also teaches young viewers about movies and film criticism.


La Semaine de la Critique organizes a day of film criticism instruction for Île-de-"Lycéens France's et apprentis au cinéma" program. Twenty high school students have participated in this workshop for several years, writing reviews of La Semaine de la Critique films. The Paris workshop will be led by two expert film critics in partnership with Parisian independent theatres (CIP). 

French Union of Film Critics and La Semaine de la Critique offer a film criticism foundation course as part of its action.

This five-day course for four classes in two sixth-form colleges in the Paris Region aims to obtain information (about cinematic and journalistic vocabulary), practice (film criticism writing workshops), and explore new jobs by meeting and arguing with film professionals (film journalists and critics, directors and producers). 

South/Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

La Semaine de la Critique promotes screen education for students through Cinéma du Sud. 200 students from Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur are invited to Cannes screenings. During the Cannes Film Festival, professional film critics will teach 60 high school students how to write a film review.

Alpes-Maritimes Departement Council

La Semaine de la Critique has offered screen education for years. Secondary school students can discover the short and feature film formats by attending screenings of La Semaine de la Critique-selected films. They can also learn about the career of a film critic and strengthen their analytical skills.


Following Cannes Film Festival, the selected films will be screened in France

  1. Cinémathèque Régionale de Corse - Corsica
  2. Cinémathèque Française – Paris
  3. Cinemas Les Variétés and La Baleine - Marseille)
  4. Mexico (Morelia Film Festival). 

For short films only

  1. Czech Republic (Prague - Cinema Ponrepo)
  2. Martinique (Festival Cinémartinique Atrium). 

The list of reruns is subject to change and will be confirmed in the invitation.

Right-holders of the film must provide prints for each rerun, until the end of all the reruns. The producer must inform their sales agent, their French distributor and the distributor of the rerun country of these obligatory reruns.


La Semaine de la Critique began at the 14th Cannes Film Festival in 1961. The Festival presented Shirley Clarke's (USA) The Connection, an adaptation of Jack Gekber's stage production produced by The Living Theatre. The picture was part of a wave that production houses and film festivals often missed. Its screening at Cannes, dominated by producers and not open to new trends, was a phenomenon. 

Robert Favre le Bret, Artistic Director of Cannes Film Festival, opted to repeat and amplify The Connection's premiere. He entrusted the AFLC with programming the Salle Jean Cocteau (in the former Palais) for a week during the Cannes Film Festival. Nelly Kaplan created La Semaine de la Critique.   
Changes have occurred since 1962.

Short films now have their own Competition and Special Screenings have diversified La Semaine de la Critique's selection, which nevertheless screens few films to give them more publicity and support throughout the Festival. Espace Miramar hosts most screenings today. 

The goal is to help French Film Critics promote emerging film creation and discover filmmakers from around the world.

Attend International Critics' Week