CANNES • While the protesters wanted a higher level of involvement in the movie industry, only 82 women showed up at the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival last Saturday.
But there was symbolism in the number. In the 71 editions of the event since 1946, only 82 movies by female directors had been in contention for prizes. This compared with 1,645 films by male directors.
Only one movie by a female director, The Piano Teacher (1993) by Jane Campion, has ever won the festival's top prize, the Palme d'Or.
The 82 women - who included French film-maker Agnes Varda and actresses Salma Hayek and Marion Cotillard - appeared on the red carpet for the premiere of Girls Of The Sun by Eva Husson. The latter is one of three female directors among the 21 Palme d'Or contenders this year.
Varda said: "Women are not a minority in the world and, yet, our industry says the opposite. We want this to change."
Asked to comment on the shortage of films by women at the festival, Hayek said: "You cannot say it's only the fault of Cannes... Not that many women are making their films because they're not being financed, greenlit or distributed."
She said it was the responsibility of the "entire industry" and not just one festival.