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Women Fight Back at Cannes, From Megan Ellison to Emily Blunt

Women Fight Back at Cannes, From Megan Ellison to Emily Blunt

Cannes has made a concerted effort this year to make room for women in its roster. For one, the festival opened with Emmanuelle Bercot’s “Standing Tall,” the only woman-directed film to open the festival since 1987. Cannes also teamed with French luxury goods company Kering to launch Women in Motion, a series of high-profile talks that have rolled out throughout this 68th edition.

At a Kering gala on Sunday, Cannes delegate and artistic director Thierry Fremaux gave intrepid young producer Megan Ellison and powerhouse Jane Fonda the inaugural Women in Motion award, and both took their moment on the dais to speak on behalf of women in Hollywood. Fonda urged that we represent women 51-percent in movies, while Ellison kicked off the event with her eloquent take, below.

READ MORE: Cannes Opens with Emmanuelle Bercot’s “Standing Tall”: “I’m not a minority”

Meanwhile, at Tuesday’s press conference for Denis Villeneuve’s sprawling drug drama “Sicario,” star Emily Blunt openly criticized Cannes for its high-heels only policy at premieres. According to Variety, several women were turned away from the “Carol” premiere for wearing flats. “I think everyone should wear flats, to be honest… We shouldn’t wear high heels anymore. That’s just my point of view I prefer to wear Converse sneakers. That’s very disappointing.” (Reportedly even “Amy” director Asif Kapadia’s wife was nearly turned away from the Palais for her footwear.)

According to Fremaux, there’s no mention of heels in Cannes’ dress code. During the “Sicario” conference, Villeneuve joked — or not? — that he and cast members Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro would ascend the Palais in high heels for tonight’s “Sicario” premiere. Blunt is the lead in the film, a role that she and director Villeneuve fought to keep female.

Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best takes from the Women in Motion talks.

Megan Ellison:

“I don’t believe in very many things but art is definitely one of them, on the top of that list. Films and arts influence our culture in a way that many of us don’t understand or fully respect. Art doesn’t belong to the few but to the many and I believe that the perspective we’re putting out in the world should not come from such a small subset of people. It’s a disservice to us all.”

Jane Fonda:

“Of course it upsets me that women are still earning 30 cents per dollar less than a man earns doing exactly the same work… It’s unacceptable and it must change and we talk about it and we must be active in trying to create gender equity in terms of pay… The fact is that most film directors are men, white men. Most major roles are male roles and (it’s) the reason that I’m excited about this award… Women have to become part of the very heart of movie making.”

Salma Hayek:

“We need to show them that we are an economical force. They have not discovered it because they are caught up in their macho stuff. The minute they see the money in this the business it will be instantaneously different.” “They (men) don’t see this as embarrassing.” “The only two industries where women make more money than men is fashion and pornography and in those we are treated as sexual objects. This is an ignorant way of looking at who we are.” “We don’t want to watch things that promote us as sexual objects.” “Women don’t have enough voice and we can’t express who we are. We need to see ourselves.”

“I am Mexican. I am a woman. I am 48. I am at the bottom in Hollywood but I am working more than ever. I have never been embraced by the studio, I was always outside the system.”

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