Putting their foot in it

Cannes insists female guests wear high heels.

by Jennie Kermode

Cate Blanchett has often opted for flats.
Cate Blanchett has often opted for flats. Photo: Fawnia Soo Hoo

The Cannes Film Festival has attracted accusations of sexism in the past but it has really hit the headlines this time with a ruling that women will only be allowed into red carpet screenings if they're wearing high heels. To make it worse, the rule seems to apply even to women who have serious walking difficulties.

The decision came to light when several women found themselves turned away from the première of Todd Haynes' Carol. Set in Fifties America and starring Cate Blanchett, the film documents a lesbian romance in a period where wearing flat shoes was one of the key ways such women could discreetly signal their sexuality. Now, of course, flats are worn by everyone and are often far from unglamorous, but they are ore necessary for some women than others, and some of those told to leave the red carpet were reportedly suffering from medical conditions that meant they needed them.

Asif Kapadia has since reported that his wife was turned away from a screening because of her footwear, though she eventually managed to get in.

The Cannes organisers have declined to comment on specific incidents but have confirmed that the rule is in place.

Festival director has now set the record straight.

Read what Frances McDormand said about the controversy.

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