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Cannes Film Festival Chief Emphasizes Focus on Cinema Amid Worker Strikes and Rumors

Short Summary:

On the eve of the Cannes Film Festival, Thierry Fremaux attempted to redirect attention from looming worker strikes and #MeToo rumors back to the films. Despite concerns over political pressures and social contexts, Fremaux emphasized a controversy-free focus for this year's festival in France.

Cannes Film Festival's General Delegate, Thierry Fremaux, has expressed his determination to maintain the festival's focus squarely on cinema, amidst a backdrop of potential worker strikes and continuing debates around #MeToo issues. On the eve of the festival, Fremaux faced a barrage of media inquiries concerning these external pressures but reiterated his commitment to steering the festival away from controversy.

"Before, our primary concern at Cannes was about how films were received—loved or hated. This year, we consciously aimed to minimize distractions, focusing on the art of cinema," Fremaux stated, reflecting on past controversies such as the selection of Maiwenn’s film starring Johnny Depp. Despite efforts to maintain a neutral stance, the festival's alignment has been scrutinized in relation to political and social issues, including the treatment of gender relations in the industry and the potential artistic censorship arising from these discussions.

Fremaux also addressed concerns about the potential for significant disruptions from festival freelancers, who are disputing labor reforms under the banner "Broke Behind the Screens". He acknowledged the seriousness of their grievances and confirmed ongoing discussions with the French National Cinema Centre (CNC), labor unions, and the Ministry of Culture to avert a strike. "We are paying close attention not just to avoid a strike, but because the workers themselves wish to avoid it," he added.

Questions regarding the absence of Israeli films in the selection were met with a straightforward response from Fremaux, who emphasized that selections are made based on artistic merit alone, without external influence. "The selection is purely an artistic choice, independent of any non-cinematic factors," he affirmed.

As Cannes prepares to open, Fremaux remains hopeful that the festival can proceed without the distractions of previous years, focusing instead on celebrating cinematic achievements. He concluded with a light-hearted remark about the personal feedback he receives during the festival, showcasing his humor and dedication to his role in guiding Cannes through its challenges.

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