Cannes 2018 jury press conference: Cate Blanchett explains lack of female directors in competition
Questions about the lack of female representation at Cannes hung over the star-studded competition jury on the first official day of the festival. Cate Blanchett, this year’s head, said that the film industry – and Cannes in particular – were working towards “positive change,” but on the lack of female directors she warned that entrants at the festival faced a “gladiatorial” environment and had to be up to the task.
Of the main award, Blanchett wryly noted that “this isn’t the Nobel Peace Prize, this is the Palme d’Or.” The star spoke eloquently about perceptions of women in film, discussing gender parity, racial diversity and how “being attractive doesn’t preclude being intelligent.”
Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve made clear his support for the larger #MeToo movement and also pointed to the necessity of telling stories in an environment where “truth is in danger.” Kristen Stewart – now an established Cannes favourite – spoke cryptically of her plan to assess the films. The actress wanted to “pluck little clams out of this larger sea,” while the French auteur indicated that it would take “a special form of gymnastics” when deliberating over the entries.
On the topic of cinema responding to the political moment, French stalwart Robert Guediguian cited that “art must walk one step in front of the people, but only one step.” A Wrinkle in Time director Ava DuVernay desired an “emotional muscularity” from the selection, while Palme d’Or winner Léa Seydoux sought a movie “that manages to create a new language.”
Taiwanese actor Chang Chen, singer-songwriter Khadja Nin and Loveless director Andrei Zvyagintsev comprise the rest of the jury. When asked about their deliberations over the next eleven days and their final decisions, Blanchett warned that the jury “may disappoint and confound” the press and the public. That may be the case, and the festival may very well do similar. Therein lies the excitement.
Photo: Laurent Emmanuel/ Getty Images
Read more reviews and interviews from our Cannes Film Festival 2018 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Cannes Film Festival website here.