• Simply GenZ

Making Their Mark: Protestors at the Red Carpet

A global film stage turned into a stage for protests, and the Cannes Film Festival and its red carpet became a walkway for feminists crying out against sexual violence. A festival is an annual event held to celebrate and preview a diverse multitude of new films and genres, many of which deal with social justice and activism.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has made Ukrainian women subject to sexual abuse. As citizens grow unbearing and restless, activists are continuing to create noise to initiate change. Especially in a setting of showbiz and visual storytelling, activism reaches a larger audience and ignites a passionate conversation. Sometimes, it takes a bit of unpredictability to get the public tweeting. Protestors have surely crowded the headlines.

At the premiere of George Miller’s “Three Thousand Years of Longing,” an unidentified woman has stripped away from her clothes in protest of sexual violence in Ukraine. Ukrainian colors were displayed boldly across the woman’s body; her torso read “Stop raping us” in vibrant blue and yellow paint. She wore white underwear smeared with red handprints. Scrawled across her lower back was “scum,” coinciding with the SCUM Manifesto, a group of radical feminists who believe in a woman’s purpose to fix all the wrongdoings of men. This graphic, striking image quickly turned heads and made it impossible to avoid the crisis, which still goes unknown to so many people. Her enraged cries were heard around the world, and they lingered even after she was carried away by security.

Two days later, a group of feminists made their fiery entrance with smoke flares and fists in the air. 129 names were plastered upon a banner, 129 names for the 129 women who have been murdered in France since the last Cannes Festival. The protest coincided with the premiere of “Holy Spider,” a feminist thriller based on a true story about a woman who hunts down a man murdering prostitutes.

Utilizing the red carpet as a platform for activism is not only a powerful way to garner public attention, but it continues to highlight the interlink between entertainment and social justice.

Films traverse language barriers and spread messages that can be seen around the world. Entertainment needs to continue acknowledging the humanitarian crisis–desperate times call for desperate measures.

The spotlight must be placed upon the lives that are suffering; people can’t care if they don’t know anything about the sexual abuse against Ukrainian women. The Cannes Film Festival witnessed memorable fashion statements and film recognitions–most importantly, however, it became a podium for activists.

Writer - Jasmine Kwok

Editor - Priyam Kusundal

Graphics - Jhem Picache


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