The Cannes Film Festival launched its official poster for the 70th edition on Wednesday and almost immediately caused a firestorm in the French media and on Twitter over accusations the archive image of Claudia Cardinale had been retouched.
French media didn't waste any time to pile on the criticism that the image of Cardinale, taken in Rome in 1959, had been altered so her thighs looked slimmer. Many outlets posted side-by-side images to illustrate the changes.
Leading French daily Le Monde asked "[I]s Claudia Cardinale not perfect enough? Apparently not. … She has become skinny and even her feet have shrunk." The popular left-wing newspaper Liberation said: "Claudia Cardinale dropped a dress size in one swirl."
On social media, many people shared the gif of the original image of Cardinale with the new poster.
Why the need to alter Claudia Cardinale's body so dramatically for #Cannes2017 official poster? pic.twitter.com/jvMEfejZUc
- Anna Rose Holmer (@BARFH) March 29, 2017
Appalled that #Cannes2017 felt the need to 'slim' this 1959 photograph of the magnificent Claudia Cardinale; both insulting & unnecessary. pic.twitter.com/Kw54KiWUT1
- John J Johnston (@JohnJJohnston) March 30, 2017
Despite the rumblings in the French press and social media, Cardinale, 78, described the controversy as a "fake row." Speaking to The Huffington Post, the Leopard star said, "[T]his image has been retouched to accentuate this effect of lightness and transpose me into a dream character."
She added: "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."
Cannes festival director Thierry Fremaux was equally bemused by the brouhaha, telling the AFP that the poster had been "very well received."