PARIS • The Cannes Film Festival organisers are not apologising for their choice of 18 movies for this year's Palme d'Or prize, with only three directed by women.
The trio are Eva Husson, with Girls Of The Sun; Alice Rohrwacher, with Lazzaro Felice; and Nadine Labaki, with Capharnaum.
"The films in the selection were chosen for their quality and there will never be a selection based on positive discrimination," the festival's artistic director Thierry Fremaux said on Thursday.
"Like everyone else, we regret the fact that there has only ever been one female Palme d'Or winner," he added, acknowledging the current debate over gender equality.
Jane Campion won for The Piano in 1993.
This year's contenders include Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman, about an African-American police officer who infiltrates the white supremacist group Ku Klux Klan, and Le Livre d'Image (The Image Book) by Jean-Luc Godard, a pioneering film-maker of the French new wave.
Also getting its world premiere at Cannes, though outside the official competition, is Solo: A Star Wars Story, a spin-off from the franchise, directed by Ron Howard.
The festival runs from May 8 to 19, with Australian actress Cate Blanchett chairing the main jury.
At Thursday's news conference, Mr Fremaux said he had asked to include two Netflix films this year: one in competition, which he did not name, and the other out of competition, the Orson Welles movie, The Other Side Of The Wind, which was completed only this year.
However, Netflix has decided to boycott the event, refusing to abide by a rule that requires all competition entries to be released in French movie theatres before streaming.