Stars gather at Cannes for the first festival since the Weinstein scandal

Credit Emmett  Furla  Oasis Films

In its first trial, the Cannes Film Festival's ban on selfie-taking on the red carpet was adhered to by most, but not all, at Tuesday's opening night ceremony.

The 71st French Riviera celebration of cinema and celebrity is the first since the downfall of powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

The 71st Cannes Film Festival started in France.

Blanchett is this year's jury president of the festival.

The fact that only three of 21 directors in the running for the top prize are women - the same number as previous year - has also rankled.

'Would I like to see more women in competition? Absolutely. Do I expect and hope that's going to happen in the future? "I hope so ... but we're dealing with what we have in front of us", Blanchett said. Of particular interest was the shortage of women directors in the Palme contest: just three out of 21.

But others defend Cannes, saying this year's edition, which opened yesterday and runs till May 19, is the most political in years.

Only one female filmmaker, Jane Campion, has won the prize.

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"For quality change to occur, for profound lasting change to occur, it needs to take place through specific actions", Blanchett said.

'Not specifically - there are several women in competition - but they are not there due to their gender'. But they're not there due to their gender. "We will assess them as filmmakers, as we should".

Still, Weinstein's shadow is darkening this year's festival. The film, 20 years in the making, stars Adam Driver as a man warped into the fantasy world of medieval Spain.

This year, the festival has established a hotline for sexual harassment victims at Cannes.

Blanchett took exception to a questioner who wondered how discussions about female empowerment applies to a glittering celebration like Cannes, where female glamour is celebrated on the red carpet as well as the big screen. It will also hold a special red carpet on Saturday with about 100 women attending, which festival director Thierry Fremaux said is "to affirm their presence".

The black lace confection fit in perfectly on the storied Palais, where Blanchett was joined by jury members Kristen Stewart and Ava DuVernay and surprise guests Julianne Moore and Martin Scorsese.

The movie industry must use this week's Cannes Film Festival to "liberate and listen to women's voices" if it is to stamp out sexual harassment, the French minister for gender equality said. "The whole world has changed". Weinstein is accused of raping Italian filmmaker and actor Asia Argento at the 1997 Cannes festival. Weinstein has denied any nonconsensual sex.

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