British film-maker and Cannes juror Andrea Arnold said Wednesday she would "hate" to be selected on gender grounds, as disappointment over the all-male line-up clouded the filmfest's opening day.
"I would absolutely hate it if my film was selected because I am a woman," the director told a press conference when asked about the absence of women among the 22 directors racing for the Palme d'Or, the festival's top prize.
"I would only want my film to be selected for the right reasons -- not out of charity because I'm female or anything," said the 51-year-old Arnold, whose first two feature films -- "Red Road" in 2006 and "Fish Tank" in 2009 -- both won the jury prize at Cannes.
To the dismay of feminists, there are no women in the Palme d'Or line-up this year and just two among the 17 in Cannes' new talent section "Un Certain Regard": France's Catherine Corsini and Sylvie Verheyde.
New Zealand director Jane Campion is the only female director in the history of the event to have won the Palme d'Or, for "The Piano" in 1993.
An unprecedented number of women last year ran for the top prize, with France's Maiwenn, Australia's Julia Leigh, Scottish director Lynne Ramsay and Japan's Naomi Kawase taking hard looks at sex, violence and family life.
"That was obviously a good year," Arnold said.
"It's true the world over that there are just not many women film directors. So I guess Cannes is a small pocket that represents how it really is out there in the world.
"And that is just a pity, and a great disappointment, because I think that women are obviously half of the population, with voices and things to say about life and the world that would probably be good for us all to hear."
The 65th Cannes Film Festival kicked off Wednesday with "Moonrise Kingdom", a bittersweet family romp by US director Wes Anderson, one of 22 films vying for the Palme d'Or.