The star-studded Venice film festival opens Wednesday with a row raging about the inclusion of controversial directors Roman Polanski and Nate Parker.
With only two women directors out of 21 in the running for its Golden Lion top prize, campaigners have lashed the festival — now the launchpad for the Oscars.
Director Alberto Barbera said last year that he would rather quit the 11-day event — where three of the last five Oscar best picture winners were premiered — than give in to pressure for quotas.
But feminist critics have only upped their attacks, accusing the festival of “almost comically scant levels of self-awareness”.
“1 rapist. 2 women directors in competition at Venice. What else am I missing?” tweeted Women and Hollywood founder Melissa Silverstein, referring to Polanski’s conviction for the statutory rape of a 13-year-old in 1978.
She was equally scathing about the late addition of US director Parker’s film American Skin to