Cannes Film Festival Braces for Revelation of Industry Abuses

The biggest story from this year's festival might not involve a film

Cannes Film Festival
Pedestrians wlak past the official poster of the 77th Cannes Film Festival on the facade of the Palais des Festivals in Cannes.
VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images

On Tuesday, May 14, the latest iteration of the Cannes Film Festival is set to begin, with an opening ceremony honoring the life and work of Meryl Streep. Streep isn’t the only big name with a role in the festival; its jury is set to include Greta Gerwig, Lily Gladstone, Eva Green and Omar Sy. But the biggest stories surrounding the festival right now have less to do with the films scheduled to compete and more to do with external forces and information.

To begin with, there’s the possiblity of a walkout and general strike by festival workers over the challenges faced by freelancers at Cannes and related events. That’t not all; as The Observer‘s Vanessa Thorpe reports, it’s also likely that a list documenting high-profile men in the film and television world who have abused women will be revealed during the festival.

Thorpe cites reports in Le Figaro and Le Canard enchaîné to the extent that the festival has a crisis management team on hand in anticipation of such a list — and that films with some of the men involved could be removed from competition.

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This isn’t the first time this year that #MeToo allegations have arisen around a prominent French cinematic event. Earlier this year, Variety reported on a controversy at this year’s Cesar Awards as the film industry attempted to address its own history. This included a speech made at that ceremony by Judith Godrèche, who has accused directors Benoît Jacquot and Jacques Doillon of sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager.

Godrèche’s short film Moi Aussi will be screened at Cannes this year in competition — something that’s set to heighten the industry’s reckoning even more.

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