Cate Blanchett, Ava DuVernay, and Agnes Varda were just some of the women who joined 82 on the steps at Cannes to speak out about gender inequality in Hollywood. According to Variety, the 82 represents the number of women directors who have had their films screened in the prestigious competition, compared to 1,866 male directors across the 71-year history of the festival. Blanchett took the lead during the march, reaching a statement written by both herself and Varda that acts as both a call to arms for women across Hollywood and as a cry against the longtime treatment of women in Hollywood as highlighted by the #MeToo movement according to Variety:
“Women are not a minority in the world, yet the current state of our industry says otherwise,” Blanchett said, reading from a statement written by her and legendary director Agnes Varda, who delivered the speech in French. “As women, we all face our own unique challenges, but we stand together on these steps today as a symbol of our determination and our commitment to progress. We are writers, we are producers, we are directors, actresses, cinematographers, talent agents, editors, distributors, sales agents, and all of us are involved in the cinematic arts. And we stand today in solidarity with women of all industries.”
“We expect our institutions to actively provide parity and transparency in their executive bodies and provide safe environments in which to work,” Blanchett continued. “We expect our governments to make sure that the laws of equal pay for equal work are upheld. We demand that our workplaces are diverse and equitable so that they can best reflect the world in which we actually live. A world that allows all of us in front and behind the camera, all of us, to thrive shoulder to shoulder with our male colleagues.”
Vulture notes that the presentation took place before the premiere of Eva Husson’s Girls of the Sun, one of only three films featuring female directors at the event. It was part of the 5050X2020 effort that “seeks to get to 50/50 gender representation across the entire Cannes lineup by 2020.” Other notable women in attendance included Kristen Stewart, Léa Seydoux, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, Salma Hayek, and Marion Cotillard.
Varda added a powerful line following the speech by Blanchett according to Variety:
“The stairs of our industry must be accessible to all. Let’s climb,”
It should be noted that the three female-led films in competition at Cannes this year is the best offering in the history of the event, something that was singled out by Jessica Chastain back in 2017.
The kicker to the entire moment came after the women started to head into the theater for the film according to Vulture. The DJ for the red carpet decided to play “Pretty Woman.” It’s either a slight joke or an example that Cannes might take a little extra effort to bring about change.