Martin Scorsese and Cate Blanchett Open 71st Cannes Film Festival

Cate Blanchett a two-time Oscar winner from Australia will be the 12th woman to head the Cannes jury. Credit AFP

Now in its 71st year, the Cannes festival has faced a series of challenges this year, including a feud with USA online movie giant Netflix over the screening of its movies and fallout from the scandal that has engulfed US movie mogul Harvey Weinstein over dozens of alleged sexual assaults on women.

Faced with only showing its films out of competition, Netflix withdrew its films from Cannes. USA director Martin Scorsese and Australian Oscar victor and producer Cate Blanchett, the jury's president, declared open the 71st Cannes Film Festival. "When I was in my 20s, I thought the more I would torture myself and the more I would stay in character for months, the better the result would be", she recalled.

"This is not the Nobel Peace Prize, it's the Palme d'Or". "But these things are not going to happen overnight". I would like to send out this message: I hope that the decision will be taken for him to be allowed to come, ' he said.

Working together is "not something we plan on doing every two years", said Cruz at the film's press conference on Wednesday. In previous years, it's been predominantly male dominated and mostly white though Cate laid down the law before accepting her position as the twelfth female jury president. It will also hold a special red carpet on May 12 with about 100 women attending, which festival director Thierry Fremaux said is "to affirm their presence".

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The black lace confection fitted in perfectly on the storied Palais, where Blanchett was joined by jury members Kristen Stewart and Ava DuVernay and surprise guests Julianne Moore and Martin Scorsese.

The recently inaugurated Cannes Film Festival has already faced criticism in the recent weeks in the equality question and the problem is that the festival has nominated only three films directed by women in the entire long list of its 21 official selection of films in the lineup. "The whole world has changed".

Farhadi, who has frequently worked with his own wife, fellow Iranian director Parisa Bakhtavar, said the couple seemed to maintain a "healthy" distance from the industry.

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