Cannes Film Festival faces criticism of sexism for strict dress code

World Today

Actors Josh Brolin, Emily Blunt and director Denis Villeneuve for the screening of the film Sicario at the 68th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Tuesday, May 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

The Cannes Film Festival is coming under scrutiny for its strict dress code after women not wearing high heels were turned away from a premiere.

Many are criticising the festival after Screen International reported that several middle-aged women were refused entry to Sunday’s premiere of Todd Haynes’ 1950s lesbian romance “Carol” for wearing flats.

On Tuesday, actress Emily Blunt called the report “very disappointing, obviously.”

“Everyone should wear flats, to be honest, at the best of times,” said Blunt, who was there to premiere the Mexican drug war thriller, “Sicario.

Director Denis Villeneuve joked that he and his male stars, Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin, would wear heels to the evening premiere of “Sicario” in protest.

They didn’t, of course, sticking with black dress shoes.

Blunt wore stilettos with a silver hue, though you could barely glimpse them because of the long silvery sequined dress.

Natalie Portman, who is in Cannes with her directorial debut, said, “Women should be able to wear whichever suits them.”

Model Cara Delevigne, meanwhile, was shocked to learn of the incident.

“A flats ban? I’m going to wear flats now, for that reason. Are you kidding me?”

The red carpet at Cannes is highly regulated by tradition.

Men must wear tuxedos with bow ties and black shoes, and women are expected to wear dresses with heels.

The dress code isn’t explicitly spelled out by the festival but is enforced by security guards or “hosts.”

Festival spokeswoman Christine Aime suggested that festival staff had made a mistake as there is no specific mention about the height of the women’s heels or for men’s at Cannes.

The dust-up is particularly awkward for Cannes because this year’s festival has been marked by considerable discussion about gender equality in the movie industry.

Story by the Associated Press