She was both overwhelmed and disappointed. "From couture to T-shirts, landfills are full of garments that have been unnecessarily discarded", Blanchett says. New Zealand's Jane Campion remains the only female to have obtained as a solo director the prestigious top award, for "The Piano Lesson" in 1993. "And it was quite disturbing to me, to be honest". The Spanish language family drama Everybody Knows starring Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, opening the fest, is one of them. "It isn't just the Cannes Film Festival that's going to change". Cannes remains perhaps the most supreme and heightened realm of moviedom, but its rarified stature has been increasingly challenged by both the era of #MeToo and the age of Netflix. While security was a talking point a year ago, the world's largest movie event in 2018 has already invoked discussion through several structural changes - from moving the opening to Tuesday instead of Wednesday, the revamp of the press screening schedule that has never changed for decades, and notably the selection of films that hints at Cannes' readiness to become less predictable.
Cannes has been closely watched for how it would react to the fallout following the downfall of Weinstein, previously an omnipresent figure at Cannes. But that did not stop the Oscar victor from delivering the kind of deft, articulate responses that proved her the flawless leader-no offense, Cannes director Thierry Frémaux-to guide the flawed French festival through its Time's Up-era evolution. He has stocked the competition lineup with eight first timers.
It also will hold a special red carpet on Saturday. Von Trier has been accused of sexual harassment by the Icelandic musician Björk, with whom he worked on his 2000 film Dancer in the Dark. And he has brought Star Warsback to Cannes for the megawatt premiere of Solo: A Star Wars Story.
When asked what it means to be a woman filmmaker during these times of change, she is quick to answer with grace. For that to happen, however, Cannes rules would have to be changed. There are several women in competition this year but they're not there because of their gender, they're there because of the quality of their work. Her jury of nine includes Ava DuVernay, Kristen Stewart, Lea Seydoux and Burundian singer Khadja Nin.
'Would I like to see more women in competition? "And we will be assessing them as filmmakers, as we should be", she said.
"Many wheeler-dealers and producers still parade with paid-for models or prostitutes on their arms, which makes female film-makers deeply uneasy about what, precisely, is valued by the money men".
Also on the jury that will decide this year's Palme d'Or are Russian filmmaker Andrey Zvyagintsev, Canadian director Denis Villeneuve, French director Robert Guediguian and Chinese actor Chang Chen. Most of this only really affects the people actually at the fest, and not the readers/viewers elsewhere, but then again, everyone who cares about the film industry is already aware of the riff-raff these changes have caused. "We learnt about it from the media", said local hospitality union head Alain Lahouti, a sentiment echoed by others AFP spoke to in Cannes.
After Farhadi, another Iranian director, Jafar Panahi, will screen a movie in competition, but will be unable to attend the festival as he is officially banned from film-making by his government.