Blanchett thinks #MeToo will take time to bring change in Hollywood

Credit Emmett  Furla  Oasis Films

Credit Emmett Furla Oasis Films

Discussion of gender and racial politics have been dominant themes ahead of this year's Cannes Film Festival, the first in the post-#MeToo era.

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

Such was the refreshing, no-nonsense tone that Blanchett set Tuesday at the Palais des Festivals and Congresses. And much of the spotlight on opening day belonged to Blanchett.

But her career made a quantum leap when, at 17, she played broody teen Bella Swan who falls in love with a vampire in the "Twilight" films.

Blanchett said she would "absolutely" want to see more women in competition at the annual gala. "I hope so", Blanchett said. "We will deal with we have in hand", she elaborated further.

As a jury, though, Blanchett said, "We are dealing with what we have this year, and our role in the next nearly two weeks is to deal with what is in front of us".

In fact, there are only three women directors in competition this year: Lebanon's Nadine Labaki with Capernaum, France's Eva Husson for Girls of the Sun, and Italian Alice Rohrwacher with Lazzaro Felice. I am humbled by the privilege and responsibility of presiding over this year's jury.

Only one female filmmaker, Jane Campion, has won the prize. "Not specifically", the Australian actress said.

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. They are there because of the quality of their work.

The festival organisers have introduced changes to screening schedules to prevent filmmakers and actors suffering the embarrassment of knowing before they attend the film's premiere that it has been derided as a turkey.

Disgraced movie mogul Weinstein was a regular fixture at the event.

In a formal statement issued hours later, the festival said: "Because the time has come to speak out, and because there must be zero tolerance with sexual harassment or abuse of any kind, the Festival de Cannes, in partnership with the French Ministry of Gender Equality, has chose to take a firm approach to preventing sexual harassment, and to stand shoulder to shoulder with victims". The 48-year-old has emerged as a key figure in Hollywood's fight against sexual harassment.

Of the 21 films in competition this year, only three have female directors. But the press conference for the jurors-which includes Kristen Stewart, Ava Duvernay and Denis Villeneuve-sidestepped that hot button issue. "The whole world has changed".

Others have pressured Cannes to confront its role in the scandal. Weinstein has denied any nonconsensual sex.

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.

"Being attractive doesn't preclude being intelligent", she stated firmly. That may be the case, and the festival may very well do similar. "It's the way that I, from where I'm from - Compton, California - was able to understand the humanity of a family in Iran or in Shanghai". In the following days, Lors Von Trier and Nuri Bilge Ceylan appeared on the list leaving Paolo Sorrentino, Mike Leigh, Naomi Kawase and Xavier Dolan to festivals after Cannes.

The 71st edition of the Cannes Film Festival kicks off today with a number of changes.

Cannes never mentions the country of origin while listing the films.

Since then, both sides have expressed some regret over the high-profile disagreement.

Despite a plea by U.S. 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.

In the festival's Un Certain Regard section is "Rifiki", a lesbian romance from Kenya that has already been banned at home.

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.

Also making a return to Cannes is "Star Wars".

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