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May 17, 2015 1:30 PM

Cannes swoons for 'Carol,' Todd Haynes' '50s lesbian romance

The Associated Press

CANNES, France (AP) "Carol," Todd Haynes' 1950s lesbian romance with Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, had the Cannes Film Festival swooning after its premiere.

The long-in-development adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel was received rapturously at Cannes for its tale of an illicit love between two women in conservative '50s New York. Speaking to reporters Sunday, Blanchett said "Carol" is more than a period piece.

"We're living in deeply conservative times," said Blanchett, noting that in many countries, homosexuality is still illegal. "And if we think otherwise, then we're very foolish."

"Carol," based on Highsmith's 1952 novel "The Price of Salt," was one of the most anticipated films at Cannes and emerged a likely contender for the Palme d'Or and, later in the year, the Academy Awards. The Weinstein Co. will release it Dec. 18 in the U.S.

The eroticism of "Carol" comes largely through subtle, hidden gestures, but Blanchett and Mara were asked about shooting the film's tasteful sex scene. Blanchett, a mother of four, said being naked hasn't been as much an issue for her since giving birth with "a lot of strangers."

"It's an important scene," she said.

Mara added: "I'm nude quite often so it wasn't a big deal for me."

Blanchett also added her voice to the growing chorus over sexism is Hollywood.

"It's important to keep talking about it," said Blanchett. "It fell off the agenda and I think we lost a lot of ground."

The screenwriter Phyllis Nagy didn't contradict her, but added a note of optimism.

"Nothing has changed and everything has changed," Nagy said. "We can have this movie now."


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