Dozens of film stars have joined together to make a symbolic walk up the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival in a display of solidarity and protest.
Jane Fonda, Salma Hayek and Marion Cotillard were among the 82 women who took part in the demonstration at the first Cannes festival since the sexual abuse scandals that shook Hollywood last year.
Cate Blanchett, head of the jury that will award the festival’s highest honour, the Palme d’Or, and veteran French director Agnes Varda read out a statement.
“As women, we all face our own unique challenges, but we stand together on these stairs today as a symbol of our determination and commitment to progress,” they said.
The number of women who took part in the protest is the same as the number of films directed by women selected to feature at Cannes in its more than seven-decade history.
In the same period, 1,645 movies directed by men have had that honour.
The protest was held ahead of the premiere of French filmmaker Eva Husson’s Girls of the Sun, which tells the story of a Kurdish battalion comprised entirely of female soldiers.
Husson is one of three female filmmakers out of the 21 movies in competition for the Palme d’Or this year.
The other two, Nadine Labaki’s Capernaum and Alice Rohrwacher’s Happy as Lazzaro, are to premiere next week.
Cannes has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years over the number of female directors selected into its main slate, considered one of the most esteemed achievements in cinema.
Jane Campion remains the only woman to have won the Palme d’Or.