CANY – After two years of the pandemic, the 75th Cannes Film Festival is taking place with the usual dose of controversy and some new hustle and bustle, preparing for the biggest rally on the French Riviera since 2019.

On Monday, on the eve of the opening of the festival, preparations were made up and down the Croisette. The festival will open on Tuesday with a zombie film directed by “Artist” Michel Khazanavičius “Z”.

But even before it all started, the festival had already found a lot of excitement. Just hours before artistic director Thierry Fremo spoke to the media on Monday, Hollywood trading company Deadline published an article stating that it could not publish an interview with Fremo after he asked to change his answers to topics in including women filmmakers, and whether Cannes will ever re-host Roman Polanski’s film.

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“The festival not only demanded the approval of copying as a condition for an interview with Frémaux (something we were not asked to do by any festival or organization), but after he promised not to make any changes to the copy, he removed the content, including potentially awkward responses from Frémaux concerning diversity and controversial filmmakers, ”reads the Deadline story.

For a festival that prides itself on the celebration of free speech, this was an awkward start to the fact that Cannes is hoping to return to a normal festival. From May 17 to 28, about 35,000 film professionals are expected, as well as several brilliant Hollywood films, including “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Elvis” by Luhrmann’s Base. Fremo, however, did not see this as a problem.

“There is no self-censorship and, of course, no censorship,” he told reporters. “Of course, I try to keep an eye on myself when talking to reporters.”

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“If I want to change something, I change it,” he added. “I can reread how I was reported, and I can change my views if I want to.”

Fremo, however, said he did not want to be history.

“This is a press conference of the Cannes Film Festival, this is not a school for journalists,” he said. “Ask any questions you want from me. I have fire for them. “

The journalist then immediately asked Fremo about Cana’s reputation with women filmmakers, which had been simmering for a long time. Last year, French director Julia Ducourne with the horror thriller “Titan” became only the second woman director to receive the prestigious main prize of the festival – “Golden Palm Palm”.

This year there are five women from 21 films in the Cannes competition. This is in line with the previous high in Cannes, but lags behind the percentages found in some other international festivals that have made diversity a top priority.

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“I don’t think there are very few women in the competition,” Fremo said. “In the competition, 25% of women and 25% of women who applied.”

Fremo suggested that the debate over gender equality in cinema is often unfair, and that the festival selects films only on their quality. He described the achievements of women in cinema as an important evolution in film production, but which is still unfolding.

“Should we decide today to give preference to women directors? What would you say to that? ” he posed for a journalist. “What is the dogma there, what is the rule? There is no quota. ”

On the eve of the festival in another case there were typical problems with tickets for visitors. Last year, Cannes began implementing a digital system, but in 2021 there were far fewer visitors. The system failed on Tuesday. Fremo said the problem was exacerbated by hacking robots that tried to buy up to 1,000 tickets a second.

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“We have a much better system this year,” Fremo said, dwelling on the ironic cheers. “I mean, there has to be a much better system.”

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Follow AP writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

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For more information on the Cannes Film Festival, visit: https://apnews.com/hub/cannes-film-festival

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