This year was supposed to be the year of no selfies at Cannes. So naturally I assumed that if there was going to be any kind of organized protest on the red carpet, it would be by a group of outraged attention whores. Instead, this year’s Cannes Jury President Cate Blanchett and French director Agnès Varda led 82 women up the red carpet to protest gender inequality at the film festival.
Earlier this month, Cate spoke to Variety about being jury president and she let it be known how messed up it was that she was only the 12th woman to hold that title in Cannes’ 71-year-history. She also reminded everyone how the Palme d’Or has gone to 71 male directors and only two female directors. Entertainment Weekly says that Cate announced that the 82 women who walked the red carpet together on Saturday represented the number of female directors who have walked up the stairs, as opposed to the 1,688 male directors who have done the same. The small-scale women’s march happened during the gala premiere of Girls of the Sun, the only film in competition this year at Cannes that was directed by a woman (Eva Husson).
— Variety (@Variety) May 12, 2018
Cate’s speech read:
“Women are not a minority in the world, yet the current state of our industry says otherwise. As women, we all face our own unique challenges, but we stand together on these steps today as a symbol of our determination and commitment to progress. We are writers, we are producers, we are directors, actresses, cinematographers, talent agents, editors, distributors, sales agents, and all of us are involved in the cinematic arts. And we stand in solidarity with women of all industries.”
We expect our institutions to actively provide parity and transparency in their executive bodies and provide safe environments in which to work. We expect our governments to make sure that the laws of equal pay for equal work are upheld. We demand that our workplaces are diverse and equitable so that they can best reflect the world in which we actually live — a world that allows all of us in front and behind the camera, all of us to thrive shoulder to shoulder with our male colleagues. And we acknowledge all of the women and men around the world who are standing for change. The stairs of our industry must be accessible to all. Let’s climb.”
Agnès read the same speech, but en Français.
The group of 82 women included Ava DuVernay, Kristen Stewart, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, Léa Seydoux, Marion Cotillard, Salma Hayek. Get our your glasses, this picture is like Where’s Waldo but for famous women.
Unfortunately, the 82-women march ended on an extremely cringey, tone-deaf note when the red carpet DJ decided to play “Pretty Woman” as they were leaving. Jesus, who was the DJ, Roman Polanski? It’s an honest guess.