Sunday, 21 October, 2018

Cate Blanchett, Ava DuVernay, Patty Jenkins unite for change at Cannes

Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem'Everybody Knows' CREDIT James Gourley REX Shutterstock
Rosie Leonard | 13 May, 2018, 00:37

Eighty-two women including Cate Blanchett and Ava DuVernay marched up the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday to protest gender inequality at the festival and in the wider film industry. Only 4.3 percent of competition films were directed by women over the course of the festival's first 71 years and only one female filmmaker has won the festival's top prize, the Palme d'Or.

"We will demand that our workplaces are diverse and equitable so that they can best reflect the world in which we actually live - a world that allows all of us behind and in front of the camera to thrive shoulder to shoulder with our male colleagues", she continued.

A total of 82 women from the world of cinema will climb the steps that lead to the festival's Theatre Debussy, pause and stand motionless and silent facing the Palais. "Let's climb", Blanchett declared, with some of the rally's participants visibly moved. In the 71 years of this world-renowned festival there have been 12 female heads of its juries.

Women have been stopped from entering premieres in the past for not wearing high heels.

The film is the story of the Kurdish Yazidi all-female Sun Brigade who are fighting Islamic State jihadists in Syria and Iraq, where thousands of women were kept as slaves. The festival also faced backlash for including a film by Lars von Trier, the Danish director who had been banned from the festival for seven years after making anti-Semitic remarks and whose production company has been accused of sexual harassment. The group supposedly includes a swath of female heavyweights in Hollywood from actresses like Salma Hayek to directors like Wonder Woman's Patty Jenkins and activist-journalists like Melissa Silverstein.

The number has already received "several calls" since the festival's launch on May 9, French Equality Minister Marlene Schiappa announced Saturday.

The 51-year-old Mexican actress looked sensational for the event in a glittering light blue gown with a shimmering silver belt accentuating her stunning hourglass figure.

Only four of the 111 winners have been female - and two of them were a year ago when Sofia Coppola became only the second woman to secure the best director trophy with her American Civil War drama "The Beguiled".

On the organization's website it calls out disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein and offers statements that echo the Time's Up and #MeToo movements. In that time 1,645 films directed by men have been selected in competition.

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