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Stars gather at Cannes for the first festival since the Weinstein scandal

09 May 2018

France's Gender Equality Minister Marlene Schiappa confirmed the news, explaining everyone has been warmed to watch their behaviour at the festival, taking place from 8 May to 19 May.

"A few years ago there were only two!"

While it is unfortunate that they couldn't be here, she stressed that what they had would be judging for "is not Nobel Peace Prize but Palme D'Or".

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.

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.

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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. I am humbled by the privilege and responsibility of presiding over this year's jury. They are there because of the quality of their work. They are not there due to their gender.

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.

Serious doubts also hang over whether Gilliam's Pythonesque movie will be allowed to close the festival after it became embroiled in a bitter legal battle over who owns the rights.

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.

As one senior film critic said in an informal chat: "The festival is telling us that it isn't about the media; it is about the filmmakers".

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On the Netflix debate, DuVernay only referenced the situation vaguely.

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. 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 made a decision to put females in the spotlight".

Another Iranian with a movie in competition, Jafar Panahi, will be unable to attend the festival as he is officially banned from film-making by his government. Sergei Loznitsa, another big name in the worldwide film scene leads the Un Certain Regard section where Nandita Das' MANTO will also be screened.

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

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. Sonam Kapoor-Ahuja will be at the French Riviera as a newlywed and make heads turn on May 14 and 15. And he has brought Star Warsback to Cannes for the megawatt premiere of Solo: A Star Wars Story.

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Stars gather at Cannes for the first festival since the Weinstein scandal