Emily Blunt ‘disappointed’ by ban on flat shoes

21 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

After the high-heel controversy, Cannes apologises over the furore.

Yesterday I did something rather subversive: I wore flat shoes in Cannes. Richter, who has her big toe and part of her left foot amputated, was allegedly stopped four times at the premiere of Gus Van Sant’s Sea of Trees on Saturday. “They pointed their finger at my shoe and then were waving their fingers at me,” she said. “It was quite obvious it was my shoes that was an issue.” “Obviously, I could wave my foot at them,” she continued, “and that would make the situation a little awkward for them, because I had a visible explanation [for not wearing heels]”.

CANNES, France (AP) — The Cannes Film Festival is coming under scrutiny for its strict dress code after women not wearing high heels were turned away from a premiere. I did not, I must confess, feel especially Che Guevara-like as I waddled down the Croisette to interview a Hollywood actress in town to promote a big budget film.

Many are criticizing the festival after Screen International reported that several middle-aged women were refused entry to Sunday’s premiere of Todd Haynes’ ’50s lesbian romance “Carol” for wearing flats. On Tuesday, actress Emily Blunt called the report “very disappointing, obviously.” “Everyone should wear flats, to be honest, at the best of times” said Blunt, who was there to premiere the Mexican drug war thriller “Sicario. “You kind of think that there’s these new waves of equality.” Director Denis Villeneuve joked that he and his male stars, Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin, would wear heels to the evening premiere of “Sicario” in protest.

Last year’s Golden Globes saw British actress Emma Thompson storm the stage barefoot, her Christian Louboutin stilettos in one hand and a dirty martini in the other. As has been widely reported, this week at the film festival, a group of women was turned away on the red carpet because they were wearing flat shoes; which in Cannes are presumably known as les chaussures du diable. She flashed Louboutin’s trademark red-lacquered soles at an amused audience, clutching her heels indignantly. “My blood,” she slurred, then lobbed the shoes overhead before announcing the award for best screenplay.

That one of these women is allegedly an amputee adds further fire to my theory that this is all a plot from a bad Robert Altman parody of film festivals. Thompson’s antics provoked genuine laughter—the rarest of things at Hollywood awards shows—along with cheers from her female comrades who had stuffed their feet into precipitously high heels that night.

Frémeux knows he has room to wiggle here – you know, like a woman wiggles and wobbles atop her stilettos – because there is no actual written stipulation that women must walk around on stilts. The dust-up is particularly awkward for Cannes because this year’s festival has been marked by considerable discussion about gender equality in the movie industry. Still others reported footwear confrontations with overzealous security guards, who are enforcing a strict interpretation of the festival’s “black tie” dress code.

The Oscars are the same and, speaking as one who has been reprimanded several times over the years by officials while covering the Academy Awards, I can testify that a world of Emily Post-like stipulations regarding etiquette reside within those fuzzy guidelines. Only someone bereft of the powers of sight, hearing and access to a TV or the internet will be surprised that intelligent professional women are expected to look like Barbie dolls at a film festival. She stood her ground, but stopped short of making them count the four toes on her mangled left foot. “We are all working women who walk up and down the streets of Cannes all day doing business,” she told The Telegraph. “They cannot force us to wear heels.” From Chinese women teetering on foot-binding wedges to Marilyn Monroe wiggling in her stilettos, high heels have symbolized femininity, sex, power, and submission—sometimes all at once.

Our managing editor wears them to work regularly because they make her feel taller and emboldened. “I’m serious enough as is, so I like that heels can be playful,” she says. Writing in the anthology Fifty Shades of Feminism, Sandi Toksvig, the Danish writer and actress, argues that women “will never meet men on an equal footing … while they literally can’t stand up for themselves.” A friend who works at Google says she wears heels on dates and on interviews, but would feel silly traipsing around the office, where sneakers prevail. “I’d stick out like a sore thumb,” she tells me. “No one wears them here.” In a 2013 interview, Sarah Jessica Parker admitted that running in heels on the set of Sex and the City destroyed her feet. “I worked 18-hour days and never took them off,” she said. “I wore beautiful shoes, some made better than others, and never complained.” And Parker’s costar, Kristin Davis (Charlotte), has said she feels guilty for the show’s glamorization of high heels. But the movie industry’s sporadic attempts to pay lip service to gender equality are invariably laughable, because they’re done against a background of pay inequality and female objectification. Elizabeth Olsen wore flat sandals to the 2011 festival premiere of Martha Marcy May Marlene. “By the end of the night, when I’m wearing heels at events, my feet feel like they’re sitting in pools of blood,” she later told Asos magazine. Cannes, trying rather frantically to quell the furore, has issued a statement saying that the “festival’s hosts and hostesses” have been reminded that “there is no specific mention about the height of women’s heels [in the rules].” But the fault here doesn’t lie with Cannes, or even film festivals, but with the hilariously retrograde assumptions about what still constitutes elegance in a woman.

I’ve seen some commentators online – all men, funnily enough – snark that it’s no different to demand women wear high heels than it is to insist men wear bow ties. Most of us who have ever spent an intoxicated evening wobbling around on high heels can recall waking up the next day to an apparent murder scene at the foot of the bed.

And so to face down those overzealous officials (comfortable in their manly flat black dress shoes) we need just a few more bold statements of red carpet rebellion—Julianne Moore and Cate Blanchett, get your softest slippers out and start a revolution. I sometimes wonder if men think women have special powers that render them magically able to walk on their tiptoes all night without any pain (and enjoy hours of makeup and hair styling, awkward and uncomfortable dresses and starvation diets).

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