Red carpet stormed at Cannes Film Festival as women protest violence

Red carpet stormed at Cannes Film Festival as women protest violence

Cannes protest

Multiple messages highlighting the plight of women in Ukraine, and violence against women, have been dramatically made on the red carpet of the Cannes Film Festival.

On Friday, a topless woman covered in yellow and blue paint along with the words “stop raping us” across her torso, was quickly removed from the red carpet by security guards. But not before she could be photographed, with the images shared across international media and social media, and French feminist group SCUM declaring that the protest was initiated by one of their members to “denounce the sexual torture suffered by Ukrainian women in the war.”

Just a couple of days later, a group of around 12 women wearing black stormed the red carpet, just as a film about killing sex workers was about the be premiered. Although it’s unclear if they were directly protesting the film.

The group held a banner featuring the names of 129 women, all killed in France since the last time the festival was held.

They set off black smoke grenades and held the banners with their arms in the air on the stairs of the red carpet.

This time, security did not stop the protest – giving the women time to be photographed and create a powerful vision of defiance to those watching on.

The film that was about to premier was Holy Spider, based on an Iranian-born investigative journalist who examines the serial killing of sex workers. It is based on the true story of Saeed Hanaei, who murdered at least 16 women and became a hero to some Islamist militants.

Reports later emerged that multiple people had walked out of the screening of the film, due to the graphic nature of the content which includes explicit details of women being murdered. Some critics are questioning the need for such visual depictions, even describing the films of as “fetishism” of violence, and for using such a story to generate suspense.

However, the film also received a long-standing ovation, with its Iranian-Danish director Ali Abbasi praised for the message it sends. The filmmaker described it as a “small piece of justice being played out.”

The United Nations has called for investigations into violence against Ukrainian women and children by Russia during its invasion of Ukraine. They have called for a “gender-sensitive” humanitarian response, noting the challenges of the mass displacement of women and children, along with the large presence of “conscripts and mercenaries, and the brutality displayed against Ukrainian civilians.”

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