Australian actress Cate Blanchett said that while the #MeToo movement would usher in change in the way Hollywood runs its business, such change could be some time in coming.

Blanchett was speaking on Tuesday in the French resort town of Cannes in her capacity as president of the jury for the 71st Cannes Film Festival.

As with other festivals and Hollywood's day-to-day business at large, there has been widespread criticism of what many see as a lack of diversity in the gender and ethnicity of those able to participate.

"For profound lasting change to occur, it needs to take place through specific actions," Blanchett said.

The movement was "addressing the gender gap and the racial diversity and the equality and the way we make our work," she said.


"Is [#MeToo] going to have a direct impact on films in competition this year? Or six, nine months on? Not specifically… the women here are not here because of their gender. They are here because of the quality of work. And we will be assessing them as filmmakers, as we should be," she said.

The 48-year-old Melbourne-born actress noted there were "several women in competition" at this year's festival.

"They are not there because of their gender [rather] they are there because of the quality of their work," Blanchett said. "We will assess them as filmmakers, as we should."

Australian actress Cate Blanchett is presdient of this year's Cannes jury.

Photo: EPA/Ian Langsdon

Blanchett told the gathered media she hoped to see more women represented at Cannes in the future.

"Would I like to see more women in competition? Absolutely. Do I think it will happen more in the future? I hope so," Blanchett said.

This year, just three of the 21 films in competition at Cannes were directed by women; in historical terms, the festival's top award, the Palme d'Or, has been given to a female director just once, to Jane Campion.

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

Photo: AP

The festival's director Thierry Fremaux said on Monday that "cinema has always been in the hands of men".

"There will be more and more [female filmmakers] in the future," Fremaux said, noting that at this year's festival a group of about 100 women will walk the red carpet as a group in a gesture intended to "affirm their presence".

Pressed by the media on the issue of filmmaker Roman Polanski – who has been expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, but remains a prominent personality in the French film world – Fremaux was less clear.

"These are complicated matters," is all Fremaux would say. "We look at the past with the glasses of today."

Fremaux was also pressed on the topic of the so-called "selfie ban"; the festival ruled this year that it would not permit anyone to take pictures of themselves on the red carpet.

"It's horrible to lend this such importance, it's ridiculous," Fremaux said. "You don't come to Cannes to see yourself, you come to Cannes to see films."

The 71st edition of the Cannes Film Festival will run until May 19.

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Michael Idato

Michael Idato is a Senior Writer based in Los Angeles for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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