On Sunday, the red carpet procedures at the premiere of Michael Haneke’s “Amour” were disrupted by a protest from the French feminist group La Barbe (“the beard”), whose letter grieving the male-dominated line-up was published in Le Monde and The Guardian newspapers. The interference bemused those whom it supposedly targeted: if one weren’t familiar with the plight, they may have found the message unclear — the five women arrived sporting fake beards and, in the evening’s torrential downpour, carried signs saying, “Marveilleux,” “Merci!!!,” “Splendide,” “Incredible!” and, finally, “Le Barbe.” A sardonic approach, yes, but is it Cannes who is truly at fault? The festival’s artistic director, Thierry Fremaux, espoused the fairness of his, and the rest of the committee’s, decisions in a statement that maintained “films were chosen ‘without regard to race, color, sex, language, religion, political opinion,’ or any other external factor.” Andrea Arnold, a British filmmaker who serves on this year’s Cannes jury, insisted that the bigger problem at hand is “the lack of female directors making feature films.”

Female actresses with roles in films eligible at Cannes are not exactly feeling the source of the furor. Jessica Chastain, who is featured in “Lawless,” was plain-spoken about the situation and its validity: “I think it’s silly … I think a film should be judged on the film and not on the sex of the person who directed the film.” She went on to note that a multitude of women are serving on the Cannes prize jury, and spoke in agreement with Arnold as far as the real problem being a lack of females in the film industry as a whole. Her co-star, Mia Wasikowska, concurred in that “at the end of the day, it’s about the best film.”