The Cannes Film Festival is reportedly not allowing women into screenings if they’re wearing flat shoes. I’m not sure I could’ve come up with a better metaphor for sexism in the film industry if I was really, really trying. If you wrote this into a novel about sexism in the film industry, it would seem heavy-handed. “Too much,” your editor would say. “Tone it down.”
Flatgate erupted on Twitter this week after several women were apparently turned away from a red carpet screening of Cate Blanchett’s new movie Carol because they were in the demon flats. According to Screen Daily, the screening was on a Sunday night and the women weren’t exactly wearing Keds:
Multiple guests, some older with medical conditions, were denied access to the anticipated world-premiere screening for wearing rhinestone flats.
The festival declined to comment on the matter, but did confirm that it is obligatory for all women to wear high-heels to red-carpet screenings.
Obligatory, huh. Asif Kapadia, director of the new Amy Winehouse documentary Amy, confirmed that his wife, too, nearly missed a screening because of her shockingly non-vertical footwear:
In photos from various Cannes screenings, most of the actresses are wearing trailing dresses that hide their feet. Presumably each of them lifts their hems so they can be inspected in turn. Clearly, as critic Farran Nehme pointed out, there’s no way to look adequately classy in flats:
And as Village Voice film critic Stephanie Zacharek notes, heels are always red carpet-appropriate (Full disclosure: Zacharek is a friend and former coworker, and possibly the most stylish woman in journalism).
Actress Emily Blunt was asked to weigh in on the flats controversy during a press conference for her new film Sicario; according to Variety, she replied, “I think everyone should wear flats, to be honest. We shouldn’t wear high heels anymore. That’s just my point of view. I prefer to wear Converse sneakers. That’s very disappointing.”
Women of Cannes: strap chopsticks or hunks of plastic to the bottoms of your bare feet. Wear Lucite heels with live goldfish inside them. Find yourself a pair of sky-high creepers. You musn’t singlehandedly bring down down the tone of Cannes with your plebe feet. Heavens, no.
Amy Poehler attends the premiere of Inside Out at Cannes, May 18. Photo via Getty Images