Stars reject patronizing ‘year of women’ slogan

By Eric Randolph ,AFP

CANNES, France — This year’s Cannes Film Festival has been dubbed the ��Year of the Women�� for its focus on female issues and filmmakers, but many of the women in question seem keen to fight back against the label. The festival on France’s south coast �X like the wider film industry that feeds it �X has a reputation for male domination, so there was some relief that this year’s official selection opened things up a bit. A female director, Emmanuelle Bercot, opened the festival for only the second time in its history and Agnes Varda will be the first female recipient of the honorary lifetime achievement award. The competition includes two women directors where often there are none, and the most critically lauded entry so far �X ��Carol�� starring a lavishly praised Cate Blanchett �X focuses on repressed lesbian love. Even the action films �X ��Mad Max: Fury Road�� and drug war thriller ��Sicario�� �X have female leads in the form of Charlize Theron and Emily Blunt. Despite all this, the women in question have pushed back against the idea they should feel grateful for the supposed largesse. ��They say it’s the ‘year of the women,’�� said Blanchett at a press conference. ��You hope it’s not just a year �X not just some fashionable moment.�� Bercot outright rejected the idea that the choice of her film as festival opener was some sort of victory for female empowerment. ��It’s the selection of the film that’s an honor,�� she said. ��I don’t feel I’ve been a given a gift because such a prestigious slot went to a woman.��