Cannes 2018: Scandal, protesting stars and bans, the film festival is marred

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However, the festival's organisers said that because of the rise of "social media" critics, who did not necessarily respect embargoes on publication of reviews, the film's creators were increasingly reading bad reviews before they attended the glitzy premieres.

The director and screenwriter, whose update of the sci-fi classic "Blade Runner 2049" picked up two Oscars this year, is a frequent guest of the festival.

Scorsese, who won the festival's top prize, the Palme d'Or, for "Taxi Driver", was in Cannes for an anniversary screening of his 1973 breakthrough "Mean Streets".

The affair has prompted the film festival to set up an anti-sexual harassment hotline this year.

In a year dominated by the #MeToo movement, the Cannes film festival - which started Tuesday - is feeling the heat to address glaring gender imbalances in the competition for its top prize, the Palme d'Or.

South Africa and Kenya both have films in competition for the Uncertain Regard portion of the fest, which is considered a showcase for emerging talent. When asked about their deliberations over the next eleven days and their final decisions, Blanchett warned that the jury "may disappoint and confound" the press and the public. Juries, she noted, have in recent years been split equally, with the president tilting the scales.

"They are not there because of their gender [rather] they are there because of the quality of their work", Blanchett said.

"It's very hard to sit in judgement of other artists. that is going to be the most challenging, most painful moment for all of us", said Blanchett.

There, they were joined by fellow jury members French director Robert Guédiguian, Burundian singer-songwriter Khadja Nin, actress Léa Seydoux, Denis Villeneuve, the Canadian director, Taiwanese actor Chang Chen and Andrey Zvyagintsev, a Russian director.

Still, the shadow of disgraced film mogul Weinstein is looming over this year's Cannes.

"Being attractive doesn't preclude being intelligent", she stated firmly.

On the Netflix debate, DuVernay only referenced the situation vaguely. "It has been irritating to me to think that I'm in Cannes because I'm a woman filmmaker and that now, with everything that's happening, the world has made a decision to put females in the spotlight". French law prevents a film that plays in theaters to appear on streaming services for three years.

Cannes Film Festival general delegate Thierry Fremaux gestures before a photocall. Two filmmakers in competition - Iran's Jafar Panahi and Russia's Kirill Serebrennikov_ are living under house arrest in their home countries.

Despite a plea by United States director Oliver Stone, Tehran has refused to lift a travel ban on Iranian master Jafar Panahi, whose "Three Faces" is in the running for the top Palme d'Or prize. "We will assess them as filmmakers, as we should".

Pointedly though, 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.

Also making a return to Cannes is "Star Wars".