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MeToo will not sway Cannes film contest, says jury head Blanchett

The stars gathered on the red carpet for the first Cannes Film Festival in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

The council aims to present the kingdom's movie production capabilities and filming locations, as well as enabling the movie producers of the country to build networks with worldwide filmmakers, the statement added. "I hope so", she said.

Asghar Farhadi's Everybody Knows, starring Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, kicks off the Cannes competition Tuesday night.

It has also further increased pressure on Cannes to address the glaring gender imbalance in its main competition and overhaul a dress code considered sexist by critics, with women stopped on the red carpet in previous years for not wearing high heels.

Yet she said coming to Cannes was "almost a gladiatorial sport" and it was important that film-makers were "ready" for the exposure.

Cannes Film Festival chief Thierry Fremaux says gender parity is only a matter of time.

The two-time Oscar victor also gave short shrift to a journalist who suggested the festival's traditions of glitz and glamour were at odds with the current mood.

Indeed, in addition to Stewart and Seydoux, the jury this year is rounded out by Ava DuVernay, Taiwanese actor Chang Chen, French director Robert Guédiguian, Burundian singer-songwriter Khadja Nin, Canadian director Denis Villeneuve, and _Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev.

But Michel Hazanavicius, the Oscar-winning director of "The Artist", who is on the festival's board, insisted von Trier was joking, while Fremaux said Monday that the Dane was not an anti-Semite. Juries, she noted, have in recent years been split equally, with the president tilting the scales.

A reporter asked whether the #MeToo movement would change the industry and festival-and Blanchett prompted her male jury members to speak up first. "Being attractive doesn't preclude being intelligent", she said. That may be the case, and the festival may very well do similar.

On the Netflix debate, DuVernay only referenced the situation vaguely. French law prevents a film that plays in theaters to appear on streaming services for three years. "You don't come to Cannes to see yourself, you come to Cannes to see films". Several Netflix titles, including Alfonso Cuaron's "Roma" and the recently completed Orson Welles film "The Other Side of the Wind", had been expected to premiere this year.

Another Iranian with a movie in competition, Jafar Panahi, will be unable to attend the festival as he is officially banned from film-making by his government. "We're all going into this process with a genuinely open mind". Sergei Loznitsa, another big name in the worldwide film scene leads the Un Certain Regard section where Nandita Das' MANTO will also be screened.

Amidst the less starry line-up at the festival, the new "Star Wars" spin-off, "Solo" is the only Hollywood blockbuster.

Pointedly, however, he has not risked giving von Trier a press conference this time for his new serial killer flick, "The House That Jack Built" with Uma Thurman and Matt Dillon.

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