Allegations of sexism at the Cannes Film Festival

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The world’s artistic elite are gathering on the French Riviera for the Cannes Film Festival this week amid allegations that the event has been tainted by sexism — a charge fueled by the fact that all 22 directors nominated for the top prize, the Palme d’Or, are male.

Not one female director was nominated for the prestigious award this year; and since the festival’s inception in 1946, only one woman director has ever won the award — Jane Campion for “The Piano” in 1993.

In an open letter to the Cannes organizers, published in full in French newspaper Le Monde, a group of female directors pointed out that all the nominees are male and alleged that “Men love their women to have depth, but only when it comes to their cleavages.”

The filmmakers noted that sex symbol Marilyn Monroe appears on the festival’s official poster, The UK Week reported, and complained that women at Cannes are mainly acting as presenters, such as Berenice Bejo of “The Artist”, as The Daily Mail pointed out.

“Above, all do not let young girls think that one day they might have the nerve to make films and climb the steps of the Palais other than on the arm of a prince charming,” the women wrote.

Festival director Thierry Fremaux said that he “would never select a film that doesn’t deserve it just because it is directed by a woman,” but did note the lack of women directors is an industry-wide problem, The Daily Mail reported.

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Caroline May