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Cate Blanchett, AngŤs Varda and 80 other women stand in a silent protest for female representation at Cannes

Daveena Kataria Monday 14 May 2018

Throughout cinematic history, women have often been used as muses and placed in secondary roles, but all of that's about to change. Cate Blanchett and Agnès Varda alongside many other influential women took the chance to peacefully protest for more female representation, not only at Cannes (the film festival where the occurrence took place), but in the film industry as a whole.

 Cate Blanchett
 

The group of women stood together in a symbolic act to represent the 82 female directors whose films have been screened at Cannes throughout the 71 years that the festival has been taking place. The figure is an astounding one, especially when one takes into account the 1688 male directors that have had their work shown at the festival. "The stairs of our industry must be accessible to all. Let's climb", mentioned Blanchett. The whole protest was backed by an organisation called 5050X2020 which aspires for 50% of female representation at Cannes by 2020. It was a perfectly fitting approach to the issue and couldn't have been any better timed: it took place just before the premiere of 'Girls of The Sun' by Eva Husson, one of the three females whose work made it to the festival this year.

Blanchett and Varda's statement continued by stressing the importance of inclusivity in cinema and used some pretty interesting figures to back up their views. "As women, we all face our own unique challenges, but we stand together on these stairs today as a symbol of our determination and commitment to progress" part of it read. You can read the rest of their statement here.

 the women involved in the protest

Deaf ears

This isn't the first time inequality has been brought to light at Cannes. Last year Jessica Chastain spoke about the embarrassing lack of females in cinema and asked for the festival director, Thierry Frémaux to make improvements for this year. Clearly, the actress' request has fallen on deaf ears given this year's films don't seem to reflect a change. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter following a string of criticism, the director said, "the reality is that while half the world population is made up of women, there are much less women who are film directors". Thankfully, some studios have become increasingly aware of the glass ceiling preventing women from reaching the higher positions in the film industry, until Cannes Film Festival understands this however, it seems likely that the old tradition is here to stay.

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