Campion blasts sexism in cinema at Cannes

Jury President Jane Campion poses for photographers during a photo call for the members of the jury at the 67th Cannes Film Festival.
Jury President Jane Campion poses for photographers during a photo call for the members of the jury at the 67th Cannes Film Festival.

Jane Campion, the only female director in Cannes Film Festival history to win the event's top prize Palme d'Or, threw a punch at the male-dominated film industry during Cannes' inaugural jury press conference.

"I think you would have to say that there's some inherent sexism in the industry,'' the New Zealand screenwriter and director told reporters on the first day of the Cannes Film Festival.

"It's not that I resent the male filmmakers ... but there are some things that women are doing that we don't get to know about ... a more feminine vision," she said, adding that only 7 percent of 1,800 entries submitted to Cannes were directed by women.

"It does feel very undemocratic and women do notice. Time and time again we don't get our share of representation,'' she said, adding that men seemed to "eat all the cake''.

Campion, whose New Zealand-set movie The Piano about a mute pianist and her daughter won the Palme d'Or in 1993, is also one of only four women film-makers ever to have been nominated for a best director Oscar.

Another of the four, Sofia Coppola, nominated in 2003 for Lost in Translation, is also on this year's Cannes jury.

Campion added that there were so few women working in movies that it is "always a surprise for the world, when a woman film-maker does come along you get a more feminine vision''.

The 18 films competing for this year's Palme d'Or include only two by women directors - Japan's Naomi Kawase (Still the Water) and Italy's Alice Rohrwacher (The Wonders).

Last year there was one, while in 2012 there was not a single film made by a woman and only seven percent of the 1,700-odd films submitted to Cannes this year were by women.

Festival organisers say they recognise the problem but that doing anything other than selecting on merit would be an insult to women film-makers.

Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremaux last year told entertainment industry website ScreenDaily the lack of women was a "fundamental problem''.

But he added that it was not a battle he could "wage as a Cannes selector''.

Campion also dispelled the tensions at the press conference with humour.

"My big problem is: What to wear? That's everyone's problem at the Cannes Film Festival. There's a very high bar."

- Agencies

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