Cannes 2018: Cate Blanchett speaks about equality at 'gladiatorial' festival

Cannes 2018: Cate Blanchett speaks about equality at 'gladiatorial' festival

A Cannes Film Festival grappling with issues of gender equality and other winds of change was declared open Tuesday by Martin Scorsese and Cate Blanchett, arm in arm, before the premiere of Asghar Farhadi's "Everybody Knows".

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

But it was her soulful turn in Abdellatif Kechiche's epic lesbian love story "Blue is the Warmest Colour", which unusually captured the Palme d'Or for the director and the two leads, that made her a Cannes fixture.

This year's festival has seen organisers set up a helpline for victims to report sexual abuse at the annual event, in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

South Africa and Kenya both have films in competition for the Uncertain Regard portion of the fest, which is considered a showcase for emerging talent.

1965: Olivia de Havilland is named the first female president of the jury. "They're there because of the quality of their work". They are not there due to their gender.

Morning press shows ahead of Competition films several hours ahead of their red-carpet galas have been done away with while protracted post-screening embargoes have been imposed on reviews of films that screen late night.

Though Ms Blanchett and other members of the jury said the films will be judged on their own merit, it's going to be hard to ignore the extraneous and intrinsic factors that accompany many.

But that "doesn't mean we have to condemn them" as artists, he added.

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The two-time Oscar victor also gave short shrift to a journalist who suggested the festival's traditions of glitz and glamour were at odds with the current mood.

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

Asked about the festival's emphasis on gorgeous actresses and red-carpet glamour-which seems incongruous with the current cultural reckoning-Blanchett said, "Being attractive doesn't preclude being intelligent. This is, by its very nature, a glamorous, fantastic, spectacular festival", Blanchett said. French law prevents a film that plays in theaters to appear on streaming services for three years.

Also likely absent from Cannes will be two filmmakers living under house arrest in their home countries.

Faced with the prospect of only showing its films out of competition, Netflix withdrew its films from Cannes.

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.

Saudi Arabia's first cinema in almost 35 years was open by United States movie theater giant America Multi Cinema (AMC) Entertainment in Riyadh on April 18.

Amidst the less starry line-up at the festival, the new "Star Wars" spin-off, "Solo" is the only Hollywood blockbuster. His film - "The House That Jack Built" - stars Matt Dillon and Uma Thurman.

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