Published: Wed, May 09, 2018
Culture | By Glenn Strickland

Cannes to mark movie industry changes with '100 women' moment

Cannes to mark movie industry changes with '100 women' moment

The 71st edition of 12-day long Cannes Film Festival took off with an uneasy smile in the French Riviera on Tuesday as it successfully hid behind Hollywood A-lister Cate Blanchett who, as president of the jury, had been sent out to both field and dodge questions about Harvey Weinstein, the #MeToo movement and the festival's own dismal record of recognising talented women filmmakers.

Lasting change, Blanchett said, will only occur through specific actions over time to narrow the gender gap and improve diversity in the world of filmmaking.

Since 1946, only 84 of the 1,790 directors whose films has been shown in competition at Cannes have been women - in other words, less than one in 20. Asked if she was proud to be one of the three women in competition, Labaki replies: "I'm proud but I'm proud to be there, full stop". They are not there because of their gender, they are there because of the quality of their work. Absolutely. Do I expect and hope that's going to happen in the future? A concord would make the world "terribly boring", she added.

There, they were joined by fellow jury members French director Robert Guédiguian, Burundian singer-songwriter Khadja Nin, actress Léa Seydoux, Denis Villeneuve, the Canadian director, Taiwanese actor Chang Chen and Andrey Zvyagintsev, a Russian director. It will conclude on May 19.

Amidst the less starry line-up at the festival, the new "Star Wars" spin-off, "Solo" is the only Hollywood blockbuster.

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Besides, "Glorious Ashes" directed by renowned Vietnamese director Bui Thac Chuyen will be present at the most prestigious film festival in the world.

Organisers announced earlier this year that Australian-born actress Cate would head the board of the festival.

The film is one of 21 vying for the Palme d'Or at the first Cannes festival since sexual abuse and harassment allegations rocked the global movie industry and gave birth to the #MeToo campaign to get greater female participation in films.

In the festival's Un Certain Regard section is "Rifiki", a lesbian romance from Kenya that has already been banned at home. Von Trier, who was declared "persona non grata" at the festival in 2011 after making sympathetic comments about Nazis, was last fall accused by Bjork of sexual harassing her on the set of Dancer in the Dark, a charge von Trier denied.

Despite a plea by United States director Oliver Stone, Tehran has refused to lift a travel ban on Iranian master Jafar Panahi, whose "Three Faces" is in the running for the top Palme d'Or prize. The Han Solo spinoff "Solo: A Star Wars Story" is set for an global premiere on May 15.

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