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Cannes (France), May 20, 2018 (News Wires) - "Shoplifters", a heartwrenching family tale by Japanese veteran director Hirokazu Kore-eda, won the Palme d'Or top prize at the Cannes film festival on Saturday, at a ceremony marked by an emotional speech from a Harvey Weinstein accuser.

Spike Lee accepted the runner-up Grand Prix for "BlacKkKlansman", a searing broadside against racism with the stranger-than-fiction true story of an African-American police officer who manages to infiltrate the highest levels of the Ku Klux Klan.

Jury president Cate Blanchett said the film, which explicitly links the 1970s tale and white nationalism in the Trump era, "blew us out of the cinema".

But the most stunning moment of the night came when Italian star Asia Argento, who has said she was raped by Weinstein at Cannes in 1997, took the microphone and vowed to fight for justice for other victims.

"This festival was his hunting ground," said Argento, who says she was 21 when Weinstein attacked her in his hotel room.

"Even tonight sitting among you there are those who still have to be held accountable for their conduct against women. We know who you are and we are not going to allow you to get away with it any longer," she said to cheers from the audience.

Minutes before the actress took the stage police in Paris said they had opened a criminal probe against one of France's best-known directors, "The Fifth Element" maker Luc Besson, for allegedly raping an actress.

CANNES, May 16,2018 (News Wires) — John Travolta first came to Cannes 40 years ago while promoting “Grease,” and he’s still dancing along the Croisette.

The 64-year-old actor returned to the Cannes Film Festival to promote his new mafia boss John Gotti biopic “Gotti,” celebrate the anniversary of “Grease” with a screening on the beach, and, at a soiree on Tuesday night, share a few dance moves alongside rapper 50 Cent.

Travolta memorably played the fictional New York gangster Chili Palmer in 1995′s “Get Shorty,” about a mobster who comes to Hollywood — and finds he loves it. Gotti, who died in prison 2002, likewise had a little glamour with his fondness for cameras and his carefully swept-back coiffure. The Gambino crime boss was known the “Dapper Don,” as well as the “Teflon Don” for his ability to avoid federal prosecution before being convicted for murder and racketeering.

The film is based on the book “Shadow of My Father” by John A. “Junior” Gotti, who was a frequent presence on set. Gotti’s children also starred on A&E’s 2004-2005 reality TV series “Growing Up Gotti.”

CANNES, May 15, 2018 (News Wires) - US director Spike Lee has called on the world to "wake up" at an incendiary press conference that saw him repeatedly lambast President Trump.

Trump, he said, had been wrong not to denounce last year's far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia at which a female counter-protester died.

Lee is at Cannes with BlacKkKlansman, the true story of a black detective who infiltrated the KKK.

"I hope this film shakes people from their slumber," he told reporters.

"We've been walking around in a daze," he added.

Footage of the moment a white nationalist driver ploughed his car into the crowd is shown at the end of Lee's film, which received a standing ovation at its Cannes premiere on Monday night.

CANNES, May 13, 2018 (News Wires) — A day after joining more than 80 women protest at the Cannes Film Festival, Salma Hayek said Sunday that change for women in Hollywood already is happening.

In a conversation that was part of the “Women in Motion” talk series at Cannes, Hayek said her production company is having trouble keeping up with the demand for female writers and directors. The actress-producer said she has sold four TV shows about women this year.

“I can’t find enough female writers and directors,” Hayek said. “They’re all busy. The change already happened.”

Hayek said much work still needs to be done, particularly on the issue of equal pay. The 51-year-old actress said she hasn’t been insisting on equal pay yet because male stars and producers still need to adjust.

But she repeatedly spoke positively about progress behind the camera.

“Maybe you don’t see the difference in the numbers, but it just happened this year,” Hayek said. “It worked. And I think we should enjoy it.”

Hayek also remarked on her allegation of sexual harassment against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein in an op-ed in December . Weinstein at the time issued a lengthy statement of denial. Hayek said Weinstein specifically contested her claim and that of Lupita Nyong’o because they’re women of color.

CANNES, May 13, 2018 (News Wires) — Eighty-two women climbed the steps of the Palais des Festivals at the Cannes Film Festival in an unprecedented red carpet protest to press for improved gender equality in the film industry.

The number of stars, filmmakers and film industry professionals ascending the steps represented the number of female filmmakers who have been selected to compete at Cannes during the festival’s seven-decade history.

In contrast to their 82, 1,866 films directed by men have been picked for the prestigious festival lineup.

Organizers said the event was orchestrated by the Time’s Up movement and the French movement known as 5020x2020 to show “how hard it is still to climb the social and professional ladder” for women.

It brought an array of film industry professionals to the Cannes red carpet, including actresses Salma Hayek and Jane Fonda, “Wonder Woman” filmmaker Patty Jenkins and French director Agnes Varda, a recipient of an honorary Palme d’Or at Cannes.

Also joining were the five female members of this year’s Cannes jury: Cate Blanchett, Kristen Stewart, Ava DuVernay, Lea Seydoux and Burundian singer Khadja Nin. Blanchett read a statement atop the Palais steps in English; Varda read it in French.

PARIS, May 11, 2018 (AFP) - First-time director A.B. Shawky said that piecing together financing for a feel-good road movie about an Egyptian leper and his orphan friend nicknamed Obama was the least of his troubles getting his film to Cannes.

The newcomer is going toe-to-toe with Spike Lee, his former professor, and Jean-Luc Godard for the coveted Palme d'Or at the world's premier film festival with his debut feature "Yomeddine".

The touching, upbeat picture tells the story of Beshay, who lives in a leper colony north of Cairo, and Obama, who joins him on a cross-country trek after he escapes his overcrowded orphanage.

"It's my first film so obviously I didn't have any record to fall back when I go to financiers but also I had non-actors who weren't able to read and the main actor also had leprosy," said the Egyptian-Austrian director, who at 32 is the youngest in the competition.

Shawky found his lead actor Rady Gamal at the Abu Zaabal Leper Colony, where he made a short documentary in 2008, and said he was taken with the natural charisma behind his heavily scarred face and disfigured limbs.

"When you live in a secluded leper colony, you're not used to people staring at you all the time and now you have to stand in front of a camera and have 60 people (on the crew) staring at you all day," he told reporters.

"But by the end of the shoot he was the star -- everybody loved him, he cracks jokes all the time."

As for the Nubian boy nicknamed Obama, Shawky said he didn't aim to get into US politics but rather show the global reach of cultural touchstones.

"There's a scene when they're on Garbage Mountain (a local trash dump) and they see a Newsweek magazine. Pop culture is so pervasive -- it's a magazine that was printed in the United States and it ends up on a garbage heap in Egypt," he said.

"I think a lot of people take it for granted how much these popular things affect people on the other side of the world, so you can have a kid named Obama in Egypt."

Tragically, Shawky said, European visa problems kept both actors from being able to have their moment in the Cannes limelight, where the film was greeted with a standing ovation on Thursday night.

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