Cannes festival opens with drama

Deepika padukone at Cannes Film Festival 2017

09 May, 2018

The stars gathered on the red carpet for the first Cannes Film Festival in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

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.

And among the four men is a Chinese actor (Chang Chen), a Canadian director (Denis Villeneuve), and Russian writer, director Andrey Zvyaginstsev whose Loveless remains one of the best films of 2017.

Selfies on the red carpet will also be banned and as a reflection of the current #MeToo Movement in the film industry, a sexual harassment hotline has been set up to help anyone in distress.

However, the festival's organisers said that because of the rise of "social media" critics, who did not necessarily respect embargoes on publication of reviews, the film's creators were increasingly reading bad reviews before they attended the glitzy premieres.

This year's selections, including three female directors among the 21 Palme contenders, have done little to quell pleas by Chastain and others for more female storytellers at the world's most prestigious film festival.

Cannes has previously come under fire for not awarding the Palme to more women.

When a reporter wondered whether this year's jury was the most female-centric in the festival's history, Blanchett immediately responded, "No".

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"Would I like to see more women in competition?" She admitted that she would want to see more women directors but the change can't happen overnight.

The trailblazing director, screenwriter, producer and distributor, who directed the Oscar-nominated civil rights drama "Selma", is the first African-American woman to helm a film with a budget over $100 million - this year's "A Wrinkle In Time" starring Reese Witherspoon and Oprah Winfrey. "We will assess them as filmmakers, as we should be", she added. Before accepting the position of jury president, Blanchett said that she had laid out her own stipulations to Frémaux. Absolutely. Do I expect and hope that is going to happen in the future? I am humbled by the privilege and responsibility of presiding over this year's jury. Chastain, while not connected with any film playing at the festival this year, will in a way still be influencing the conversation.

Hazanavicius said the veteran Swiss-French director Jean-Luc Godard, whose latest film is also at Cannes, has also said "much worse things than Lars von Trier on this very same topic".

This year's festival has also been overshadowed by another controversy. There was something outside of my purview to orient me to my place in the world. Two filmmakers in competition - Iran's Jafar Panahi and Russia's Kirill Serebrennikov_ are 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.

The new "Star Wars" spin-off, "Solo", is the only Hollywood blockbuster in a slightly less starry line-up than usual.

Pointedly though, 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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