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CANNES WATCH: RODRIGUEZ RULES 'ROAD'; WEINSTEIN OFFERS PEEK; HAYEK DISGUSTED

05/14/2015 10:38 EDT | Updated 05/14/2016 05:59 EDT
CANNES, France - Premieres, parties, pretty people and paparazzi. All come together at the annual Cannes Film Festival on the French Riviera. Associated Press journalists are in the mix, too, and here's what they're reporting:

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MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ RULES IN ZUHAIR MURAD

Michelle Rodriguez ruled the "Mad Max: Fury Road" red carpet in a skin-skimming long-sleeved evening gown with floral paillette embroidery by Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad.

The "Furious 7" star stunned with the black dress, which was cut to expose both sides of her waist. It was backless save for an intricate deign that ran up the small of her back.

She had stiff competition. The film's star, Charlize Theron, was a vision in her canary yellow strapless Dior gown, while Fan Bing Bing turned heads in a grey tulle gown by Marchesa, with billowing sleeves and flowing feather and crystal bouquets that evoked springtime clouds and blossoms.

It wasn't just ladies who impressed Thursday. Earlier in the day, John C. Reilly was the definition of dapper at a photo-call for Matteo Garrone's macabre fantasy "Tale of Tales" in a cream three-piece suit, matching hat and cane, set off by two-tone brown-and-white leather brogues.

— By Jill Lawless, http://Twitter.com/JillLawless

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HARVEY OFFERS PEEK AT 'HATEFUL EIGHT'

Harvey Weinstein offered a peek at Quentin Tarantino's film "The Hateful Eight" at the Cannes Film Festival on Thursday as the movie mogul previewed the Weinstein Co.'s upcoming slate.

The annual presentation to media and industry members featured a handful of films that will premiere at Cannes in the coming days: Todd Haynes' 1950s drama "Carol" and a "Macbeth" adaption with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. One of the Cannes festival jury members, Jake Gyllenhaal, was also on hand to preview his boxing drama with director Antoine Fuqua: "Southpaw."

But probably the most anticipated, previously unseen film among the Weinstein Co.'s offerings was a two-minute trailer of Tarantino's latest. In the footage, the snowy, gun-blazing Western evoked Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs" in its gathering of a group of tough characters. Its large cast includes a number of familiar Tarantino players: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth and Michael Madsen. The film, due out later this year, was shot in 70mm.

— By Jake Coyle, http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

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DEBATING DEARTH OF FEMALE FILMMAKERS

Women are the talk of the Cannes Film Festival, where debate rages about why they are so plentiful in front of the camera and so scarce behind it.

Long criticized for its dearth of female directors, Cannes opened this year with a film by a woman for the first time since the 1980s. The selection coincides with a spate of industry soul-searching that has seen high-profile women talk publicly about the challenges they face in a male-dominated industry.

The gender imbalance in filmmaking has spurred the American Civil Liberties Union to ask U.S. employment authorities to investigate Hollywood's "systemic failure" to hire female directors. The ACLU says women represented only 7 per cent of directors on the 250 top-grossing movies last year — 2 percentage points lower than in 1998.

The male-female ratio among directors is better in Europe than in Hollywood, but women are under-represented as filmmakers around the world.

Although Cannes kicked off Wednesday with Emmanuelle Bercot's out-of-competition drama "Standing Tall," only two of the 19 films competing for its top prize, the Palme d'Or, are directed by women.

There are a few more female-directed movies sprinkled throughout the lineup, and the festival is awarding an honorary Palme trophy to French New Wave filmmaker Agnes Varda.

— By Jill Lawless, http://Twitter.com/JillLawless

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SALMA HAYEK EATS CANNES' HEART OUT

In a movie filled with strikingly lavish images, those of Salma Hayek eating the heart of a sea monster in Matteo Garrone's "The Tale of Tales" are hard to shake — especially for the actress.

"Disgusting!" Hayek exclaimed Thursday morning after it showed for critics at the Cannes Film Festival.

"The Tale of Tales" is based on the influential but little known 17th century Neapolitan fairy tales of Giambattista Basile. It's a Brothers Grimm-like world of kings and princesses, ogres and witches, in a series of grotesque fables with modern relevance. Critics mostly responded rapturously to its baroque weirdness at Cannes.

Hayek plays a queen desperate to have a child. Advised by a warlock to eat the heart of a beast, her king husband (John C. Reilly) slays a monster, and Hayek subsequently chows down on the massive organ.

"Our director here wanted ... the inside of the heart to be identical to the real heart," said Hayek. "Forbid I would take a bite and a doctor would realize an artery is missing."

It was actually made out of pasta and other things, but it still didn't make for an appetizing meal. "I thought I was going to throw up," she said.

— By AP Film Writer Jake Coyle, http://www.twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

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ROSSELLINI MOVED BY BERGMAN

Isabella Rossellini says it's a moving experience to see her late mother all over Cannes.

The actress-director is the daughter of Swedish screen icon Ingrid Bergman, whose face adorns the official poster for the 68th annual festival. A giant version of the image towers over the famous red-carpeted steps of Cannes' Palais des Festivals.

Rossellini said she feels both honoured and touched by the poster, and by a Cannes premiere for a documentary about Bergman, who died in 1982.

"Yesterday, as I was walking up the red carpet with Mama enormous, I got up to (festival director) Thierry Fremaux, I said 'Thierry, I don't miss her anymore,'" Rossellini said Thursday. "Thirty years since she died, she's so present. It's wonderful."

— By Jill Lawless, http://Twitter.com/JillLawless

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EDITOR'S NOTE — "Cannes Watch" brings you the Cannes Film Festival and related events through the eyes and ears of AP reporters around Cannes and around the world. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.

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