Watch Cate Blanchett's Impassioned Speech for Gender Equality at Cannes Women's March

May 13, 2018, 01:46
Watch Cate Blanchett's Impassioned Speech for Gender Equality at Cannes Women's March

Cate Blanchett, Ava DuVernay, Patty Jenkins, Kristen Stewart, Marion Cotillard, Salma Hayek and Agnes Varda were among 82 women to take part in a gender equality protest on the red-carpet in Cannes this evening.

The 28-year-old actress was joined by other female members of the festival jury for the women's march.

The number of protesters was highly symbolic as it represented the 82 films by female directors who have competed for the top Palme d'Or prize since 1946 - a number dwarfed by the almost 1,700 male contenders.

As we revealed would be the case last night, Competition Jury President Blanchett and iconic director Varda delivered speeches on the steps of the Palais, with Blanchett speaking in English and Varda in French.

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'Women are not a minority in the world, yet the current state of the industry says otherwise, ' Blanchett said. Only three of the 18 films in competition this year are from female filmmakers - Cannes' best showing since 2011. "As women, we all face our own unique challenges, but we stand together on these steps today as a symbol of our determination and our commitment to progress".

"The stairs of our industry must be accessible to all", she concluded.

The other two - Nadine Labaki's "Capernaum", and Alice Rohrwacher's "Happy as Lazzaro" - are to premiere next week.

The festival supported Saturday's protest. Festival director Thierry Fremaux earlier this week hailed Saturday's event as a way for women "to affirm their presence". But he's also signaled that the festival is reanalyzing its procedures and making its selection committees gender-balanced.

The number has already received "several calls" since the festival's launch on May 9, said French Equality Minister Marlene Schiappa.

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Her comments echo those of fellow actress Jessica Chastain who served on the jury a year ago and lambasted Cannes for its "disturbing" depiction of women.

Over the next two weeks, the jury will watch the 21 films competing for the Palme, including new releases from Spike Lee, Pawel Pawlikowski and Jean-Luc Godard.

The film is the story of the Kurdish Yazidi all-female Sun Brigade who are fighting Islamic State jihadists in Syria and Iraq, where thousands of women were kept as slaves.

Cannes has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years over the number of female directors selected into its main slate, considered one of the most esteemed achievements in cinema. Only one female filmmaker, Jane Campion, has won the Palme.

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