Cannes Film Festival organizers have come under fire for Photoshopping the image of legendary Italian actress Claudia Cardinale that appears on the festival’s 70th anniversary poster. Cannes organizers shared the poster on the festival’s official Twitter account on Wednesday, and sharp-eyed social media users quickly noticed something was amiss with the photo, triggering a wave of criticism. They pointed out that the image of Cardinale, shot in 1959 on a rooftop in Rome and showing her twirling to swirl her long skirt, was altered to make her appear thinner than she was at the time.
One Twitter user reportedly wondered, “If even Claudia Cardinale cannot represent beauty without being retouched, we really are in trouble.” Others reportedly blamed a “dictatorship of thinness” as the force behind the photo’s doctoring.
Another Twitter user posted the original image with red circles showing precisely where the alterations were made to make Cardinale appear thinner.
But festival organizers shot back, defending the image and its depiction on the poster, saying it had been “well-received.”
“What is this ridiculous outcry over the Cannes poster? All photos used for advertising are retouched in one way or another,” Jean-Paul Salomé, a filmmaker and president of UniFrance, an organization that promotes French cinema around the world, asked in a Twitter post.
Cardinale apparently was surprised by the uproar. The 78-year-old actress, who famously appeared in Frederico Fellini’s iconic 1963 film 8 ½, issued a statement via the festival, saying, “I am honored and proud to be flying the flag for the 70th Festival de Cannes and delighted with this choice of photo.”
In an interview with The Huffington Post, translated by The Guardian, Cardinale elaborated on why she saw no problem with how the photo was treated.
“This image has been retouched to accentuate this effect of lightness and transpose me into a dream character,” Cardinale said. “This concern for realism has no place here and, as a committed feminist, I see no affront to the female body. There are many more important things to discuss in our world. It’s only cinema.”
This is not the first time the festival has run into trouble for perpetrating sexist policies. Two years ago, the festival sparked outrage when, during its self-proclaimed “year de la femme,” organizers refused to allow several women who weren’t wearing high heels to walk on the red carpet.