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Cate Blanchett explains lack of female directors in competition

Cate Blanchett explains lack of female directors in competition

And much of the spotlight on opening day belonged to Blanchett.

"It's a level playing field", she told journalists. Blanchett said she would "absolutely" like to see more female directors in competition and pointed to changes in the Cannes selection process - a majority of the members of the festival's selection committee are now women - as a hopeful sign.

She made her breakthrough as Britain's flame-haired monarch Elizabeth I in the 1998 biopic, earning her the first of her six Oscar nominations. "But we're dealing with what we have that's here".

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".

Among the films vying for the Palme are Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman, Pawel Pawlikowski's Cold War, Nuri Bilge Ceylan's The Wild Pear Treeand David Robert Mitchell's Under the Silver Lake, with Andrew Garfield.

This year, of the 21 films up for the gong, three are directed by women: Alice Rohrwacher, Nadine Labaki and Eva Husson.

Iranian prodigy Samira Makhmalbaf snagged the prestigious Jury Prize twice, first for her 2000 breakthrough feature "Blackboards" and again three years later for "At Five in the Afternoon".

The event boss Thierry Fremaux has confirmed that 100 women will make their way down the famous carpet as part of a symbolic gesture to "affirm their presence" following the sexual harassment scandal that has swept across Hollywood in the previous months.

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

After years of spotless red carpets, Cannes Film Festival 2018 opens with a rather political affair on Tuesday. "Not specifically", the Australian actress said.

"But they're not there due to their gender", Blanchett said. They are here because of the quality of work. "We will assess them as filmmakers, as we should be".

The fate of the festival's closing film, Terry Gilliam's The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, which is often referred to as "cursed" as it has been 20 years in the making, is still tied up in litigation. For two decades, Weinstein had been an omnipresent figure at the festival, where several of his alleged sex crimes took place. Chastain, while not connected with any film playing at the festival this year, will in a way still be influencing the conversation.

But Michel Hazanavicius, the Oscar-winning director of "The Artist", who is on the festival's board, insisted von Trier was joking, while Fremaux said Monday that the Dane was not an anti-Semite. But the press conference for the jurors-which includes Kristen Stewart, Ava Duvernay and Denis Villeneuve-sidestepped that hot button issue.

Cannes Film Festival chief Thierry Fremaux says gender parity is only a matter of time.

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.

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