Big Toys and a Sandbox for Grown-Ups at Las Vegas Attraction

Most kids love digging in the sand … and many never outgrow that. A new and unusual attraction nicknamed “sand box for grown-ups” is a big hit among teenagers and adults in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s a heavy equipment playground that gives customers a change to operate gigantic, earth-moving bulldozers and hydraulic excavators, get tested on their skills and just have fun. Roman Mamonov tried his hand at operating some of the biggest construction vehicles there. Anna Rice narrates his story.

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Korean Director Wins Cannes’ Top Prize

South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s social satire Parasite, about a poor family of hustlers who find jobs with a wealthy family, won the Cannes Film Festival’s top award, the Palme d’Or, on Saturday.  

  

Parasite was the first Korean film to win the Palme. In the festival’s closing ceremony, jury president Alejandro Inarritu said the choice was “unanimous” for the nine-person jury.  

  

The genre-mixing film had arguably been celebrated more than others at Cannes this year, hailed by critics as the best yet from the 49-year-old director of Snowpiercer and Okja.  

  

It was the second straight Palme victory for an Asian director. Last year, the award went to Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters, a film also about an impoverished family. 

 

“We shared the mystery of the unexpected way this film took us through different genres, speaking in a funny, humorous and tender way of no judgment of something so relevant and urgent and so global,” Inarritu told reporters after the ceremony.  

  

Many of the awards at Cannes on Saturday were given to social and political tales that depicted geopolitical dramas in localized stories, from African shores to Paris suburbs.    

The festival’s second-place award, the Grand Prix, went to French-Senegalese director Mati Diop’s feature-film debut, Atlantics. The film by Diop, the first black female director ever in competition in Cannes, views the migrant crisis from the perspective of Senegalese women left behind after many young men flee by sea to Spain. 

Sciamma’s period romance

  

Although few quibbled with the choice of Bong, some had expected Cannes to make history by giving the Palme to a female filmmaker for just the second time. Celine Sciamma’s period romance Portrait of a Lady on Fire was the Palme pick for many critics this year. Instead, Sciamma ended up with best screenplay.  

  

In the festival’s 72-year history, only Jane Champion has won the prize. In 1993, her The Piano tied with Chen Kaige’s Farewell My Concubine.  

  

Best actor went to Antonio Banderas for Pedro Almodovar’s reflective drama Pain and Glory. In the film, one of the most broadly acclaimed of the festival, Banderas plays a fictionalized version of Almodovar looking back on his life and career.  

  

“The best is still to come,” said Banderas, accepting the award.  

  

The Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, who have already twice won the Palme d’Or, took the best director prize for Young Ahmed, their portrait of a Muslim teenager who becomes radicalized by a fundamentalist imam. 

 

The jury prize, or third place, was split between two socially conscious thrillers: French director Ladj Ly’s feature-film debut Les Miserables and Brazilian director Kleber Mendonca Filho’s Bacurau.  

  

Ly called his film an alarm bell about youths living in the housing projects of Paris’ suburbs. Filho viewed his feverish, violent Western about a rural Brazilian community defending itself from a hard-to-comprehend invasion as a reflection of President Jair Bolsonaro’s Brazil.    

British actress Emily Beecham won best actress for her performance in Jessica Hausner’s science-fiction drama Little Joe. The jury also gave a special mention to Palestinian director Elia Suleiman’s It Must Be Heaven. 

  

The Camera d’Or, an award given for best first feature from across all of Cannes’ sections, went to Cesar Diaz’s Our Mothers, a drama about the Guatemalan civil war in the 1980s.  

  

The ceremony Saturday brought to a close a Cannes Film Festival that was riven with concerns for its own relevancy. It had to contend, most formidably, with the cultural television force of Game of Thrones. The continuing rise of streaming was also a constant subject around the festival.  

Netflix controversy

  

Two years ago, Bong was in Cannes’ competition with Okja, a movie distributed in North America by Netflix. After it and Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories — another Netflix release — premiered at Cannes, the festival ruled that all future films in competition needed French theatrical distribution. Netflix has since withdrawn from the festival on the French Riviera. 

 

This year, bowing to pressure from 5050×2020, the French version of Time’s Up, the festival released gender breakdowns of its submissions and selections. Cannes said about 27% of its official selections were directed by women. The 21-film main slate included four films directed by women, which tied the festival’s previous high.  

  

The 72nd Cannes had its share of red-carpet dazzle, too. Elton John brought his biopic Rocketman to the festival, joining star Taron Egerton for a beachside duet after the premiere. And Quentin Tarantino unveiled his 1960s Los Angeles tale Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, with Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, 25 years after the director’s Pulp Fiction won the Palme d’Or.  

  

Tarantino, who attended the closing ceremony, didn’t go home empty-handed. On Friday, a prominent pooch in his film won the annual Palme Dog, an award given by critics to Cannes’ best canine.

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Why Americans Obsess About Their Grass

In the United States, the last Monday in May is Memorial Day, a holiday that honors people who died in military service during wartime.

The end of May also marks the beginning of a less serious kind of war. It is one many living Americans fight each summer. It is a battle for – and about – the perfect lawn. That’s right, the lawn: the grass around most American houses.

Virginia Scott Jenkins is an expert on Americans’ extreme interest in lawns. In fact, in her book on the issue, she calls it an “obsession.”

She says that, in the minds of many Americans, the perfect lawn looks like a soft, green carpet. “One height, one color, one type of grass, one consistency.”

Many Americans believe such a lawn does more than make a house or neighborhood look good.

“An orderly front lawn is supposed to be representative of an orderly household,” Jenkins says. “Good neighbors have good front lawns, good citizens have good front lawn(s).”

Lawns are so linked to American identity that they are part of some U.S. government buildings overseas. Architectural historian Jane Loeffler notes that the design for the American embassy in Berlin, Germany, for example, includes an outdoor area made to look like “the beloved American lawn.”

Man against nature

Lawns are not only a big deal for Americans – they are also big business.

The Bloomberg news service found that Americans spend about $40 billion every year on lawn care. They pay for lawn mowers to cut the grass and chemical fertilizers to make it grow. Many also pay other people to help keep their lawns thick and green.

These things are all weapons in a war against natural forces that, in time, may make lawns look wild or brown. So why do so many Americans fight such a war each summer?

“People have grown up believing that that ’s what [a lawn] is supposed to look like,” Jenkins says. “Because of tremendous advertising campaigns and pressure from the lawn care industry, which is a multi-million dollar business.”

Jenkins says that lawns also show a person’s social position. “Do you know how much money it takes, and time and effort, to grow a perfect front lawn?”

A major reason why lawns are so much work is because they are completely man-made, she adds. “There is not anything natural about them.”

Even the grass seed historically comes from Europe and Africa.

Man against neighbor

Of course, not everyone accepts traditional American lawn culture.

In recent years, another front on the lawn war has formed. It is between people who want to control their lawns, and those who want to let native plants grow naturally.

In 2014, in an area of Virginia about 80 kilometers outside Washington, D.C, a couple entered into a legal fight with their neighborhood about their lawn. The couple’s house is on about 2.2 hectares of land. They cut and care for the grass on part of that land, but they permit the rest to grow naturally into a meadow, with tall grass and wildflowers.

The couple, Michael and Sian Pugh, told the Washington Post newspaper that they enjoy watching the butterflies, birds and deer that visit the meadow.

But the Pughs are part of a homeowners association – a group that cares for and governs a neighborhood. The homeowners association, or HOA, makes and enforces rules about that area. One rule that is common among HOAs across the country is that members must keep their grass short and green. The Pugh’s HOA says their meadow violates this rule and is not fair to their neighbors.

One concern is that the meadow might reduce the value of other people’s homes in the area. People who sell property say a well-kept lawn is an important part of making a house attractive to buyers.

Another concern is that the neighborhood will no longer feel pleasant – or even safe – to the people who already live there.

But the Pughs and their supporters say meadows such as theirs add value because they are better for the environment. The native grasses have deep roots and can protect against flooding. And the wildflowers invite bees and butterflies, which help crops and other plants grow.

Alternatives to the traditional American lawn

Activists in other places have made similar environmental arguments.

They say the chemicals that “feed and weed” traditional lawns can hurt people and animals. They criticize the water waste involved in keeping lawns green, especially in places that face drought.

They also note that some kinds of lawn mowers use gas and pollute the air. And they say that, in general, keeping lawns under control takes too much time, and is a job that few homeowners really want to do.

In answer to these arguments, some people have found other ways to use the area around their houses. They use plants that grow easily. Or they put in vegetable gardens and fruit trees. Or, like the Pughs, they permit nature to take over and hope their neighbors w ill come to accept a new definition of “lawn.”

By the way, the Pugh’s case was never fully resolved. The HOA decided not to go to court. But HOA officials are also re-writing the rules so that no one else tries to grow a tall, wild meadow in a place where neighbors prefer a short, orderly lawn.

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Vinyl Records Are Back, and So Are Record Pressing Plants

Vinyl records are becoming more popular in the U.S., after almost disappearing from American markets when they were replaced over the years by audio tapes, CDs and digital music downloaded onto phones and other devices. With vinyl records coming back, record-pressing plants are being established, including one just recently opened in Alexandria, Va., a Washington, D.C., suburb. Alina Golinata recently visited the plant and filed this report.

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Report: ADHD May Explain da Vinci’s Procrastination 

Leonardo da Vinci is renowned as a “Renaissance man” for his mastery in art, science, architecture, music, mathematics, engineering and cartography, but he was no master at completing his efforts. 

 

Five hundred years after his death, a professor of psychiatry in Britain has suggested that the reason da Vinci left behind so many unfinished works, including the iconic Mona Lisa, is that he may have had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). 

 

“I am confident ADHD is the most convincing and scientifically plausible hypothesis to explain Leonardo’s difficulty in finishing his works,” Marco Catani of King’s College in London argues in a paper published Friday in the neurological journal Brain.  

 

Catani said historical records show da Vinci’s struggles with finishing tasks were pervasive from childhood.

On the go

Accounts from biographers and contemporaries show he was constantly on the go, Catani said, often jumping from task to task. And like many people with ADHD, da Vinci got very little sleep and often worked continuously, night and day. 

 

“Historical records show Leonardo spent excessive time planning projects but lacked perseverance. ADHD could explain aspects of Leonardo’s temperament and his strange mercurial genius,” the professor said. 

 

ADHD is a behavioral disorder most commonly identified with inability to complete tasks and mental and physical restlessness. It is most commonly recognized in children but is increasingly being diagnosed among adults, including those with successful careers.  

 

“There is a prevailing misconception that ADHD is typical of misbehaving children with low intelligence, destined for a troubled life,” Catani said.  He said he hoped that “that the case of Leonardo shows that ADHD is not linked to low IQ or lack of creativity but rather the difficulty of capitalizing on natural talents. I hope that Leonardo’s legacy can help us to change some of the stigma around ADHD.” 

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WWII Code Talker and longtime NM lawmaker dies at 94

John Pinto, a Navajo Code Talker in World War II who became one of the nation’s longest serving Native American elected officials as a New Mexico state senator, has died. He was 94.

Senate colleague Michael Padilla confirmed Pinto’s death in Gallup on Friday after years of suffering from various illnesses that rarely kept him from his duties.

After serving as a Marine, Pinto was elected to the Senate in 1976 and represented a district that includes the Navajo Nation for more than four decades. The region is one of the poorest in the country.

“Words cannot express the sadness we feel for the loss of a great Dine warrior,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, using the indigenous word for Navajo. “He dedicated his life to helping others.”

Born in Lupton, Arizona, on the Navajo Nation to a family of sheep herders. Pinto didn’t start formal schooling until he was nearly a teenager. 

“At the age of 12, I was in kindergarten,” Pinto told the Albuquerque Journal in a 2007 interview. “I guess I did all right.”

Pinto also recalled that his grandparents told of being forced at gunpoint from their land in the 1860s by the U.S. Army in the forced relocation of the Navajo people on foot to southern New Mexico.

After serving as a Code Talker — a group of radio men who translated American coordinates and messages into an indecipherable code based on the Navajo language — Pinto had to take an English test four times before he was finally admitted into the University of New Mexico’s College of Education.

He graduated with a bachelor’s in elementary education at 39, and eventually earned his master’s, becoming a teacher and a truancy officer in Gallup.

Pinto delved into politics to address the needs of impoverished indigenous populations. The Democrat won a seat in state Senate in 1976 as one of the state’s first Native American senators.

An unassuming appearance and manner belied Pinto’s political determination that carried him through 42 years in the Legislature. Laurie Canepa, the senior librarian for the Legislative Council Service, said that made him the longest serving senator in state history.

Manny Aragon, the state’s one-time Senate president, tells the story of driving to the Statehouse in a January 1977 snowstorm and picking up a middle-aged Navajo man who was hitchhiking in Albuquerque. The hitchhiker was newly elected Sen. Pinto.

“I just thought he was a transient,” Aragon said.

In the Legislature, Pinto advocated for education reform and anti-poverty programs. Receiving a lifetime achievement award in 2016, Pinto recalled going hungry at times as a child while his parents juggled odd jobs and said the experience influenced his work on issues of homelessness as a lawmaker.

Every year, Pinto would sing on the Senate floor the “Potato Song” — a Navajo song about a potato, planted in the spring and visited in the summer until it is harvested. Fellow senators, staff and aides clapped along to Pinto’s rendition.

Lenore Naranjo, the Senate’s chief clerk, says Pinto taught her bits of Navajo language over the decades.

“A beautiful man is all I can say,” Naranjo said.

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Cricket Fans in Pakistan Turn to Night Matches in Ramadan

During Ramadan, when many in Muslim-majority Pakistan do not eat or drink during the day, sports enthusiasts turn to night games. For years, amateur cricketers in the capital, Islamabad, used empty roads or local play grounds — any open space with lights — to fulfill their passion. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem shows how informal tournaments are flourishing.

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Belgian Monks, Israeli Researchers Tackle Ancient Beer-Brewing Traditions

A Belgian abbey is reviving its centuries-old tradition of beer-making after 220 years. The monks at Grimbergen Abbey are using ancient recipes to offer specialty beers in their new microbrewery. Meanwhile, researchers in Israel have made beer with yeast from jars that are thousands of years old. Beer is one of the oldest beverages, but producers are making new and attractive brews. As VOA Zlatica Hoke reports, there is a growing interest in traditional beers and the history of brewing.

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‘The Power’ Loss: TV Show Protests Georgia Abortion Law by Leaving US State

“The Power,” an upcoming TV series produced by online retail and entertainment giant Amazon, will no longer film in Georgia, following the state’s near ban on abortion that was signed into law earlier this month, director Reed Morano said.

Morano, who won an Emmy Award for her work directing “The Handmaid’s Tale” — a TV show set in a dystopian world where women’s bodies are under strict male control – is now directing a series in which women are the dominant gender.

“It felt wrong for us to go ahead and make our show and take money/tax credit from a state that is taking this stance on the abortion issue,” Morano wrote on Instagram on Tuesday.

“The Power,” an adaptation of Naomi Alderman’s science fiction novel, follows teenage girls who discover they can electrocute people with their hands and use their abilities to hurt aggressive men and shift power dynamics between genders. Amazon did not immediately comment on the move.

Other production companies, including David Simon’s Blown Deadline, creator of TV show “The Wire,” announced they also would no longer work in the state.

Georgia’s law bans abortion after a doctor can detect a fetal heartbeat, which can occur as early as six weeks, before a woman may be aware she is pregnant.

Abortion foes say the bills are intended to draw legal challenges, in hopes that a case will land before the U.S. Supreme Court.

There, a majority of conservative judges could overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision that established a woman’s right to an abortion.

“I realize that some may challenge it in the court of law, but our job is to do what is right, not what is easy,” Governor Brian Kemp said when he signed the bill into law. “We will not back down.”

The film industry in Georgia employs nearly 100,000 people and generated billions of dollars for the state in 2018, according to the Motion Picture Association of America.

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F1 Champion and Aviation Entrepreneur Niki Lauda Dies at 70

Three-time Formula One world champion Niki Lauda, who won two of his titles after a horrific crash that left him with serious burns and went on to become a prominent figure in the aviation industry, has died. He was 70.

The Austria Press Agency reported that Lauda’s family said in a statement he “passed away peacefully” on Monday. Walter Klepetko, a doctor who performed a lung transplant on Lauda last year, said Tuesday: “Niki Lauda has died. I have to confirm that.”

Lauda won the F1 drivers’ championship in 1975 and 1977 with Ferrari and again in 1984 with McLaren.

In 1976, he was badly burned when he crashed during the German Grand Prix but made an astonishingly fast return to racing just six weeks later.

Lauda remained closely involved with the Formula One circuit after retiring as a driver in 1985, and in recent years served as the non-executive chairman of the Mercedes team. 

Born on Feb. 22, 1949 into a wealthy Vienna industrial family, Nikolaus Andreas Lauda was expected to follow his father’s footsteps into the paper-manufacturing industry, but instead concentrated his business talents and determination on his dreams of becoming a racing driver. 

Lauda financed his early career with the help of a string of loans, working his way through the ranks of Formula 3 and Formula 2. He made his Formula 1 debut for the March team at the 1971 Austrian Grand Prix and picked up his first points in 1973 with a fifth-place finish for BRM in Belgium.

Lauda joined Ferrari in 1974, winning a Grand Prix for the first time that year in Spain and his first drivers’ title with five victories the following season. 

Facing tough competition from McLaren’s James Hunt, he appeared on course to defend his title in 1976 when he crashed at the Nuerburgring during the German Grand Prix. Several drivers stopped to help pull him from the burning car, but the accident would scar him for life. The baseball cap Lauda almost always wore in public became a personal trademark.

“The main damage, I think to myself, was lung damage from inhaling all the flames and fumes while I was sitting in the car for about 50 seconds,” he recalled nearly a decade later. “It was something like 800 degrees.”

Lauda fell into a coma for a time. He said that “for three or four days it was touch and go.” 

“Then my lungs recovered and I got my skin grafts done, then basically there was nothing left,” he added. “I was really lucky in a way that I didn’t do any (other) damage to myself. So the real question was then will I be able to drive again, because certainly it was not easy to come back after a race like that.”

Lauda made his comeback just six weeks after the crash, finishing fourth at Monza after overcoming his initial fears.

​He recalled “shaking with fear” as he changed into second gear on the first day of practice and thinking, “I can’t drive.”

The next day, Lauda said he “started very slowly trying to get all the feelings back, especially the confidence that I’m capable of driving these cars again.” The result, he said, boosted his confidence and after four or five races “I had basically overcome the problem of having an accident and everything went back to normal.” 

He won his second championship in 1977 before switching to Brabham and then retiring in 1979 to concentrate on setting up his airline, Lauda Air, declaring that he “didn’t want to drive around in circles any more.”

Lauda came out of retirement in 1982 after a big-money offer from McLaren, reportedly about $3 million a year. 

He finished fifth his first year back and 10th in 1983, but came back to win five races and edge out teammate Alain Prost for his third title in 1984. He retired for good the following year, saying he needed more time to devote to his airline business.

Initially a charter airline, Lauda Air expanded in the 1980s to offer flights to Asia and Australia. In May 1991, a Lauda Air Boeing 767 crashed in Thailand after one of its engine thrust reversers accidentally deployed during a climb, killing all 213 passengers and 10 crew.

Lauda occasionally took the controls of the airline’s jets himself over the years. In 1997, longtime rival Austrian Airlines took a minority stake and in 2000, with the company making losses, he resigned as board chairman after an external audit criticized a lack of internal financial control over business conducted in foreign currency. Austrian Airlines later took full control.

Lauda founded a new airline, Niki, in 2003. Germany’s Air Berlin took a minority stake and later full control of that airline, which Lauda bought back in early 2018 after it fell victim to its parent’s financial woes.

He partnered with budget carrier Ryanair on Niki’s successor, LaudaMotion. 

On the Formula One circuit, Lauda later formed a close bond with Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who joined the team in 2013. He often backed Hamilton in public and provided advice and counsel to the British driver.

Lauda also intervened as a Mercedes mediator when Hamilton and his former Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg feuded, argued and traded barbs as they fought for the title between 2014-16. 

Lauda twice underwent kidney transplants, receiving an organ donated by his brother in 1997 and, when that stopped functioning well, a kidney donated by his girlfriend in 2005.

In August 2018, he underwent a lung transplant that the Vienna General Hospital said was made necessary by a “serious lung illness.” It didn’t give details.

Lauda is survived by his second wife, Birgit, and their twin children Max and Mia. He had two adult sons, Lukas and Mathias, from his first marriage.

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3 Handwritten Wills Found in Aretha Franklin’s Home

Three handwritten wills have been found in the suburban Detroit home of Aretha Franklin, months after the death of the “Queen of Soul,” including one that was discovered under cushions in the living room, a lawyer said Monday. 

The latest one is dated March 2014 and appears to give the famous singer’s assets to family members. Some writing is extremely hard to decipher, however, and the four pages have words scratched out and phrases in the margins.

Franklin was 76 when she died last August of pancreatic cancer. Lawyers and family members said at the time that she had no will, but three handwritten versions were discovered earlier this month. Two from 2010 were found in a locked cabinet after a key was located.

The 2014 version was inside a spiral notebook under cushions, said an attorney for Franklin’s estate, David Bennett. 

Bennett, who was Franklin’s lawyer for more than 40 years, filed the wills on Monday. He told a judge that he’s not sure if they’re legal under Michigan law. A hearing is scheduled for June 12. 

Bennett said the wills were shared with Franklin’s four sons or their lawyers, but that a deal wasn’t reached on whether any should be considered valid. A statement from the estate said two sons object to the wills.

Sabrina Owens, an administrator at the University of Michigan, will continue to serve as personal representative of the estate.

“She remains neutral and wishes that all parties involved make wise choices on behalf of their mother, her rich legacy, the family and the Aretha Franklin estate,” the statement said.

In a separate court filing, son Kecalf Franklin said Aretha Franklin wanted him to serve as representative of the estate in the 2014 will. He is objecting to plans to sell a piece of land next to his mother’s Oakland County home for $325,000. 

Judge Jennifer Callaghan in April approved the hiring of experts to appraise Franklin’s assets and personal belongings, including memorabilia, concert gowns and household goods. The Internal Revenue Service is auditing many years of Franklin’s tax returns, according to the estate. It filed a claim in December for more than $6 million in taxes.

Franklin’s star, meanwhile, hasn’t faded since her death. She was awarded an honorary Pulitzer Prize in April, cited posthumously for her extraordinary career. A 1972 concert film, “Amazing Grace,” was released with much praise from critics.

The estate is involved in “many continuing projects … including various television and movie proposals, as well as dealing with various creditor claims and resulting litigation,” Bennett said. 

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Women Honored at Cannes as Gender Parity Drive Draws Scrutiny

Movie stars including Salma Hayek and Eva Longoria celebrated the role of women in cinema at a glitzy gala in Cannes on Sunday, amid a drive to promote gender equality in the industry that is still falling short of what many campaigners hoped for.

Cannes’ film festival, the world’s most important cinema showcase, last year signed a pledge to get an equal number of men and women in its top management by 2020 that is gradually gathering momentum at similar European and U.S. events.

Actors and filmmakers participating in this year’s edition have joined activists in warning that while industry attitudes were changing, progress was still slow.

“We have so much work to do and I just think we can’t let up,” Longoria told journalists at the Women in Motion dinner at Cannes, part of a program set up by luxury group Kering to push for gender equality in cinema.

“Whenever we see something improving we can’t just say ‘Oh OK let’s relax, the momentum’s going to go that way’. It won’t continue to go that way, we have to continue to change the industry for ourselves.”

Chinese actress Gong Li, the star of “Farewell My Concubine”, was awarded a prize for her career at the event.

At Cannes, four women are contending for this year’s top Palme D’Or film prize, including Franco-Senegalese Mati Diop and France’s Celine Sciamma, out of 21 entries – or just under 20 percent of the total.

Elsewhere, the proportion has sometimes been higher, with over 40 percent of the films competing at Berlin’s festival in February made by women.

“We hear a lot about how times are changing and improving, and it’s true. The idea is to support that trend. (But) the figures still don’t look good,” said Delphyne Besse, a film sales specialist and one of the founders of 50/50 by 2020, the collective behind the gender parity pledge signed by Cannes.

Of the 47 film festivals that have so far backed the drive globally, 38 percent have female heads, according to the lobby group’s figures.

Short shrift

Industry insiders said the slow progress was reflected in everything from the short shrift female directors still got in the media to their under-representation at industry events.

“Women have been making films for 11 decades now,” British actress and star of zombie movie “The Dead Don’t Die” Tilda Swinton told a news conference earlier this week.

“There are countless films by women. The question is why don’t we know about them,” she said, adding that even obituaries for female filmmakers tended to be dwarfed by those dedicated to men.

Cannes’ organizers have said they were not planning to introduce quotas dictating the gender balance of the films selected to compete at the festival.

“Cannes is only at the end of the chain. This needs to start with encouragement at film schools,” festival director Thierry Fremaux said last week.

The cinema showcase is looking to include more women its board, however, and the festival jury this year was more balanced.

“Atlantics” director Diop said festivals were still a logical starting point to highlight women’s work in the industry.

“It starts with the films, there is no festival without films, so it is an extraordinary exhibition that will give the films much bigger exposure,” she told Reuters in an interview.

 

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