Published: Wed, May 09, 2018
Culture | By Wayne Carr

71st edition of Cannes festival kicks off today

71st edition of Cannes festival kicks off today

Blanchett noted that several years ago, Cannes only showed films by two female directors.

After arriving at Nice airport on Monday 7 May, they made their way to Cannes, before heading for a Cannes jury dinner at Hotel Martinez.

Twilight's Kristen Stewart, Burundian songwriter Khadja Nin and French actress Lea Seydoux are among the other members of this year's jury.

On the opening ceremony's carefully choreographed red carpet, one of the festival's numerous modifications this year - a ban on selfies - was broken by some attendees who attempted to take photographs with their phones.

The 71st edition of the Cannes Film Festival will run until May 19. When Cannes announced an initial selection of 18 films only in competition, with some big names missing, the Director of the Festival simply asked the speculators to wait.

Long before Weinstein had been accused of attacking four women at the festival, Cannes had been under fire for a "problem with women".

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Cannes, a feverish pageant of celebrity and cinema, is trying to both rigorously guard tradition and adapt to fast-changing times.

"This is recognition for my work as a filmmaker, not for my work as a female filmmaker", says Labaki.

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. Would I like to see more women in competition?

Of the 21 films in competition this year, only three have female directors.

At a press conference before the festival's official opening, she also stressed that a director's gender would have no bearing on how she and her fellow jurors assessed their films.

Stewart said she hoped to be "fundamentally moved" by the films in competition and that the eventual recipient of the Palme d'Or would "still stand up in 10 years' time". Absolutely. Do I expect and hope that's going to happen in the future? I am humbled by the privilege and responsibility of presiding over this year's jury.

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This year's festival has also been overshadowed by another controversy.

This year, Cannes has established a hotline for sexual harassment victims at the festival.

"These things are not going to happen overnight", Blanchett said. The Han Solo spinoff "Solo: A Star Wars Story" is set for an worldwide premiere on May 15. It will also hold a special red carpet on Saturday with about 100 women attending, which festival director Thierry Fremaux said is "to affirm their presence". "It has been irritating to me to think that I'm in Cannes because I'm a woman filmmaker and that now, with everything that's happening, the world has chose to put females in the spotlight".

Despite a plea by United States director Oliver Stone and other supporters, Tehran has refused to lift a travel ban on the dissident Iranian master Jafar Panahi, whose "Three Faces" is in the running for the Palme d'Or. "They will be walking the red carpet and we will be there to support them", she said.

Pointedly, however, he has not risked giving von Trier a press conference this time for his new serial killer flick, "The House That Jack Built" with Uma Thurman and Matt Dillon.

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