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President of the main competition jury, actor-producer Cate Blanchett sat right in the middle with two men (writer-directors Denis Villeneuve and Andrey Zvyagintsev) and two women (writer-director-producer Ava DuVernay and actor Lea Seydoux) to her right and another two men (director-writer-producer Robert Guediguian and actor Chang Chen) and two women (actor Kristin Stewart and author, composer actor Khadja Nin) to her left.

"Not only Cannes but the whole world changed last September when claims started to emerge that Weinstein had abused dozens of women over the years".

A new documentary about the tragic singer Whitney Houston by Oscar victor Kevin Macdonald reportedly includes a devastating revelation about the demons that dogged her short life.

He has starred in several critically acclaimed Chinese-language films including Hou Hsiao-hsien's "The Assassin", which won the best director award at Cannes in 2015.

The Russian maker of such classics as "The Return" and "Leviathan" is regarded as one of the greatest directors in the world at the moment, with his last film "Loveless" the critics' favourite for the Palme d'Or past year. Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov will also be absent as he is under house arrest in Russia on charges his supporters say are politically motivated.

Festival director Thierry Fremaux, who called the Weinstein revelations an "earthquake" for Cannes, has promised this year heralds "a great renewal".

But the numbers show the festival still has some way to go in the battle of the sexes.

Judges in Paris will decide Wednesday whether the film, which Gilliam has laboured on for almost two decades, can be shown.

On Saturday evening, when about 100 top actresses and female film directors will stage a protest on the red carpet at the Cannes film festival to support the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment, it'll do so with the support of the Cannes Film Festival.

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Weinstein Harvey's scandal was brought into limelight after four actresses accused him of sexual assault.

Women have been stopped on the red carpet in previous years for not wearing high heels, and its dress code has been condemned as sexist.

There are only 3 out of 21 directors in the running for the top prize who are women.

"It's disgusting to lend this such importance, it's ridiculous", Fremaux said.

"There will be more and more [female filmmakers] in the future".

But Danish provocateur filmmaker Lars von Trier will return to Cannes seven years after being declared "persona non grata" for joking about being a Nazi and having sympathy for Hitler.

But Michel Hazanavicius, the Oscar-winning director of "The Artist", who is on the festival's board, insisted von Trier was joking, while Fremaux said Monday that the Dane was not an anti-Semite. His film - "The House That Jack Built" - stars Matt Dillon and Uma Thurman. "And we will be assessing them as filmmakers, as we should be", she said.

"It's very hard for people to accept the idea that you can be a jerk in your personal life and a great artist".