Organisers were attacked for retouching a 1959 image of Claudia Cardinale to make her thinner
It was lights, camera, distraction at the launch of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, amid accusations of airbrushing of the body of an Italian actress in the official poster.
The poster, featuring film star Claudia Cardinale spinning against a red background, was much maligned in the French media, where claims that her waist had been digitally synched and her thighs toned in Photoshop.
The image of the actress, best known for roles in Once Upon a Time in the West and 8½, was snapped on a Rome roof in 1959, and shows her twirling while her skirt swirls around her.
“Claudia Cardinale dropped a dress size in one swirl,” quipped the French newspaper Libération, with other French publications demanding for the Cannes organisers to explain why they had chosen to retouch the body of a woman long considered a paradigm of beauty.
“While the poster is magnificent, the photograph has clearly and deplorably been airbrushed to think the actress’s thighs,” said Télérama, a culture magazine. “What a pity.”
Tunisian-born Cardinale, when asked to respond, brushed off the incident as a storm in a teacup, calling the ensuing controversy a “fake row.”
The 78-year-old star said: “This image has been retouched to accentuate this effect of lightness and transpose me into a dream character.
“This concern for realism has no place here and, as a committed feminist, I see no affront to the female body. There are many more important things to discuss in our world. It’s only cinema.”
Claudia Cardinale attending the 70th Cannes Film Festival Anniversary Party at the Palais Des Beaux Arts in Paris, France last [Marechal Aurore/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images]
But Claire Serre-Combe, a member of the French feminist organisation Osez le feminisme! (‘Dare to be Feminist’), called it scandalous that Cardinale had had to “lose kilos” despite being “thin and magnificent” in the original.
“This poster re-enforces the diktat that women must lose weight to be accepted,” Serre-Combesaid. “Yet again, we’re back at the heart of the matter of using images of women in advertising and marketing.”
The inauspicious start to the festival comes as Thierry Frémaux, its director, is making the final selection of films set to compete in Cannes, now celebrating its platinum anniversary.
Running from May 17 to 28, Irish actor Colin Farrell is expected to appear in two films, Sofia Coppola’s US Civil War drama The Beguiled and Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Killing of a Sacred Deer.
Matt Damon could also be working double time on the Croisette red carpet, with roles in Alexander Payne’s sci-fi comedy Downsizing and George Clooney’s Suburbicon.
Todd Haynes and his long-time collaborator Julianne Moore (Safe, Far From Heaven) have reteamed to deliver Wonderstruck, a time-shifting story of two deaf children also starring Michelle Williams.
Also expected to be in contention for the Palme d’Or is previous winners Roman Polanski, Michael Haneke, and Abdellatif Kechiche.