CANNES - Marilyn Monroe will unfortunately be the only woman to be in the spotlight during the Cannes Film Festival this year. Indeed, every single one of the 22 movies competing for the Palme d’Or was directed by a man. As is often the case, women’s only role will be to present the opening and closing ceremonies, led by actress Bérénice Bejo.
The feminist action group “La Barbe” strongly denounced the situation: “The Cannes Film Festival shows once more that men like women’s depth only when it concerns their cleavage,” the association said, Première magazine reports. Jane Campion, we may recall, is the only woman ever to win a Palme d’Or, in 1993, for The Piano.
Thierry Frémaux, managing director of the Festival, answered the criticism by saying that the poor representation of women in the cinema is a topic that should be discussed all year round, and not only now. “The cause of women should be defended prior to Cannes, which only reflects the reality of the cinema industry.”
Maybe the Cannes Film Festival could learn a lesson from the newly installed French government, which counts exactly the same number of men and women cabinet ministers. It fulfills a campaign promise of just elected President François Hollande for gender parity in the allotment of ministry posts.
Still, it should be noted that most of the high-profile ministries are led by men. Christiane Taubira, a former candidate to the 2002 presidential election, is the only woman to have a top position, heading the Justice Ministry. Education, Economy, Labor and Foreign ministries are all occupied by men. Nevertheless, a Ministry for Women’s Rights has been created -- to be headed by Najat Vallaud Belkacem, a 35-year-old ... woman.
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