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‘Sexism in film industry hinders women’ Scarcity of female directors ‘undemocratic’

CANNES, France, May 14, (Agencies): The scarcity of female directors in the film industry is “undemocratic”, the head of the Cannes film festival jury Jane Campion said on Wednesday, speaking out against sexism in the business that keeps many women’s films out of view. The comments by Campion, the only woman to have ever won the festival’s prestigious Palme d’Or prize, came on the opening day of the 12-day event on the French Riviera, which in years past has been criticised for not presenting enough films made by women. “I think you’d have to say there’s some inherent sexism in the industry,” Campion told journalists and film critics at a jury press conference in advance of the screening of the festival’s opening-night film, Olivier Dahan’s “Grace of Monaco”.

“It does feel very undemocratic and women do notice,” she said. “Time and time again, we don’t get our share of representation.” This year, the festival’s 67th season, the event features a majority female jury, with French actress Carole Bouquet, US director Sofia Coppola, South Korean actress Jeon Do-Yeon and Iranian actress Leila Hatami joining Campion. But out of 18 films, only two by female directors are in the running for the Palme d’Or - “Le Meraviglie” (The Wonders) by Italian director Alice Rohrwacher and “Futatsume No Mado” (Still the Water) by Japan’s Naomi Kawase. Two years ago, influential French daily Le Monde published an open letter signed by female directors and actresses accusing the film industry of a double standard.

CANNES, France:
Quentin Tarantino will close out the Cannes Film Festival with a tribute to Sergio Leone. Tarantino will present a restored version of Leone’s “A Fistful of Dollars” (1964) at the May 24 closing ceremony. It will screen as part of a 50th anniversary celebration of the Spaghetti western, long of a favorite genre of Tarantino’s. Usually, the Palme d’Or winner is screened at the Cannes closing ceremony, but this year’s schedule has been tweaked because of European elections. The Palme d’Or winner will be shown May 25 instead..

Behind the scenes at the Cannes Film Festival, which started its 12-day run on Wednesday:
Sounds Familiar: Abel Ferrara’s racy “Welcome to New York” in which Gerard Depardieu plays a character much like the disgraced former head of the IMF is to get its first outing at Cannes. Three years ago, Dominique Strauss-Kahn was the talk of the festival as lurid details of the New York sex scandal that destroyed his career and French presidential ambitions unfolded during that year’s movie extravaganza. Spandau Ballet The Movie: They’ve long ditched the mascara and frilly blouses but 1980s “New Romantic” band Spandau Ballet were so fascinating to director George Hencken he made a film about them.

The band — which along with Duran Duran reshaped the post-punk British music scene in their pixie boots and puff sleeves — gets the full in-depth biographical treatment in Hencken’s documentary “Soul Boys of the Western World”. Cue Testosterone: No sedate press conferences or cosy Croisette terrace interviews planned when action man Sylvester Stallone’s crew of ageing, testosterone-fuelled mercenaries marches into town on Sunday. Instead Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes and Antonio Banderas — here to promote “The Expendables 3”, the latest in Stallone’s hit franchise — will roar down the Cannes seafront in an armoured vehicle

The “Hunger Games” is back in Cannes with a fiery billboard to promote the upcoming “Mockingjay: Part 1.”
Just as the Lionsgate franchise did last year, it has blazed the front of the Majestic Barriere Hotel with a large video promotion. Even among the many advertisements erected at the Cannes Film Festival, the “Mockingjay” presence is eye-catching.

The eyes of Italian film icon Marcello Mastroianni stare out cooly behind sunglasses on the huge poster across the Cannes Film Festival’s sprawling 1970s-style building. But if the event’s outgoing president had his wish, it would be plastered on a different structure. Gilles Jacob has stirred controversy by calling the red-carpeted, white retro complex - which has been hosting the festival for four dazzling decades - anything but “cool.” Speaking to local media this week, Jacob called the 1979 behemoth “ill-adapted” and too dated for the needs of the world’s most glamorous film festival, and suggested that the “bunker” be razed.

He proposed a more modern building to secure the prestige of the festival, which has witnessed over 67 years of cinema’s most famous stars. “We’re therefore asking for a Grand Palace to be built ... that’s befitting of the world’s No. 1 cultural event,” said Jacob. Not everyone agrees with his assessment. Cannes’ mayor, David Lisnard, has defended the festival hall, saying it’s fit for its purpose and will stay put. The city has the final say on its fate.

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