71st edition of Cannes festival kicks off today

Wednesday, 09 May, 2018

Though there are only three films by women directors amongst the 21 that have been picked to compete for the prestigious trophy also called the Golden Palm, Ms Blanchett was unruffled because she had been fortified by a jury that is as diverse as it gets.

"Is it going to have a direct impact on the films in competition this year?"

"For profound changes to occur, it needs to take place through specific actions", she added.

But it is Cannes' "dismal" record on female directors, and Saturday's red carpet protest led by A-list stars, which may generate the most political heat.

"Having attended previous Cannes Film Festivals as an actress, Blanchett said that awards are not the end-all, be-all: "[In past years] I'm not just interested in the film that won the prize, but one that I've heard about by word of mouth.as an artist myself, I'm actually not that focused on the awards. Here are some milestones over the years when they did recognize the contributions of women.

France's Eva Husson, Lebanon's Nadine Labaki and Italy's Alice Rohrwacher are the three female directors in contention for the festival's highest accolade. They are not there due to their gender. They are here because of the quality of work.

Fremaux says the Weinstein sex abuse allegations came as a shock to Cannes, forcing the festival to examine its own practices and do more to improve gender equality.

"There are many women on the jury but I wish there were more in competition", she told French radio Tuesday.

"Do I think it will happen more in the future?"

Cannes never mentions the country of origin while listing the films.

Those will include all five female members of the jury: Ava DuVernay, Kristen Stewart, Lea Seydoux and Burundian songwriter Khadja Nin. "It's so important that we're inclusive of the different ways we participate in film, whether that's in a theater or not", said DuVernay, who directed her documentary "The 13" for Netflix.

"Whether that's in a theatre or not, it's still film". "The one thing I really took from this experience is how the world views women, from the female characters that I saw represented".

Festival attendees have also been issued with flyers informing them harassment is "punishable by law" and that "good behaviour is required".

Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve made clear his support for the larger #MeToo movement and also pointed to the necessity of telling stories in an environment where "truth is in danger".

The festival this year even altered its sacred schedule to eliminate morning press screenings ahead of premieres - a strategic switch meant to blunt the effect of press-corps boos marring film premieres, a practice that had emerged as a kind of blood sport at Cannes.

"Being attractive doesn't preclude being intelligent". That may be the case, and the festival may very well do similar. "I hope so", Blanchett said.

Festival director Thierry Fremaux told reporters Monday that it was ironic that both Iran and Russian Federation should be "punishing the directors when neither film is political".