Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Cannes: The High Heels backlash

Cannes film festival has come under intense scrutiny today after it emerged that the industry trade magazine Screen Daily reported that "a handful of women in their 50’s were turned away from the screening of Todd Haynes’competition entry Carol". The controversy arose after the women (some of whom had medical conditions) were allegedly barred from the red carpet premiere for wearing rhinestone flats that didn't meet the standard height requirement. This couldn't come at a worst time for the internationally renowned film festival, which has already been widely critcised for the lack of female filmmakers in attendance at Cannes over the past few years.

Whilst festival organisers have declined to comment on this specific incident, it has been reported that there is an obligation for all women to wear high heels to red carpet showings. The Telegraph published another poorly handled incident surrounding the non-negotiable issue of gala footwear. Cannes veteran Valeria Richter, a scriptwriter and film producer, was stopped by festival officials four times at the Gus Van Sant's Sea of Trees premiere last week for her choice of shoe. This is despite the fact that Richter is an amputee and cannot physically wear heels.

There has been a furious backlash online that has called out the draconian dress code as sexist and entirely unacceptable in 2015. Emily Blunt who is currently promoting the new FBI film Sicario threw her opinion into the ring earlier stating that "everyone should wear flats to be honest, we shouldn't wear high heels anyway. I prefer wearing Converse". Glitz and glamour are part and parcel of the film festival world which often take up reams of newspaper column inches, with camera flashbulbs relentlessly engulfing the sea of starlets walking down the pristine red carpet.

Though fashion is a dominant force within the media, no one should ever be shamed by what they choose to wear. The dictatorship style in which Cannes is policing all female footwear is quite simply an embarrassment. After tottering around in heels for around an hour, I always find myself looking for the nearest window to hurl them through. With gender equality being an issue highlighted in many of the films selected for this year's festival, it's ironic that Cannes is letting an out dated practice encroach on its primary function which is to celebrate the art of cinematography.
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1 comment

  1. This is exactly why I decided to start blogging. It can be very isolating being home with babies, even if you get out and do stuff each day. It is so nice to read about another woman going through it too!
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