Reeti walks down Cannes’ official red carpet in katan gown

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Bangladeshi screenwriter, film critic and journalist Sadia Khalid Reeti made a stunning appearance on the official Cannes Film Festival red carpet yesterday (May 22) at 9:45pm (Central European Time).

As part of an extraordinary lineup of people that included Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Emma Stone, and Demi Moore, Reeti represented Bangladesh with pride and distinction.

This year, Reeti stands as the only Bangladeshi honoured with this prestigious opportunity. She walked the red carpet as a member of the Fipresci jury board for Un Certain Regard. Her visit to the festival this year marked her second time serving on the Fipresci jury at Cannes, having previously been a part of the jury for Critics’ Week and Directors’ Fortnight in 2019.

Reeti’s selection for the official red carpet is a testament to her significant contributions to the film industry. The official red carpet at Cannes is one of the most sought-after stages in the world, reserved for distinguished artistes and filmmakers.

In an exclusive statement, Reeti emphasised the distinction between the casual red carpet walk and the official lineup, “I want to clarify something so we are not encouraging people to pack suitcases full of costumes and head to Cannes claiming they achieved some applaudable feat. The red carpet is there on the way to screenings of the main venues. But the red carpet where photographers line in tuxedos and gowns to feature someone officially for the festival is different. There are certain protocols and we should be diligent enough to not make a fool of ourselves anymore as artistes and journalists.”

Her choice of attire was a significant moment of cultural representation. Reeti wore a gown made from katan fabric that beautifully highlighted traditional Bangladeshi craftsmanship.

“I wanted to represent Bangladesh in a way that doesn’t put us in a box and prevents us from evolving. I’m wearing jamdani sarees at the award ceremonies, but for the red carpet, I wanted to highlight that the traditional fabrics used in sarees can be fashioned into many items worthy of the global stage. Everything from my gown and jacket to my jewellery, purse, and shoes were all made in Bangladesh and are complements of my designers,” Reeti explained.

Reeti’s journey in the film industry is marked by numerous accolades and achievements. She studied screenwriting at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and is currently the Showtime Editor of Dhaka Tribune. Her role as a jury member spans various international film festivals, including those in Italy, India, England, Nepal, France, Russia, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.

She holds the distinction of being the first international voter for the Golden Globe Awards from Bangladesh. A Berlinale Talents alumna, Reeti has participated in mentorship programmes with Film Independent and Locarno Open Doors and is a recipient of the Charles Wallace Fellowship from the British Council. Additionally, she teaches film studies at various universities and institutions.

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