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Blanchett's latest film "Truth" -- a story about investigative journalism and politics -- had its European premiere on Thursday. Photo: AFP

Cate Blanchett takes centre stage at London film fest

WT24 Desk

With two new films presented and a lifetime achievement award on its way, Australian actress Cate Blanchett has taken centre stage at a London Film Festival featuring several strong female leads, AFP reports. .

Blanchett’s latest film “Truth” — a story about investigative journalism and politics — had its European premiere on Thursday, a day after the star walked the red carpet at the festival to promote the much-praised “Carol”, in wich she plays a married woman embarking on a lesbian romance in 1950s New York.

On Saturday, the 46-year-old is due to receive the British Film Institute Fellowship, whose previous winners include actors Ralph Fiennes and Al Pacino. Blanchett’s co-star in “Carol”, Rooney Mara, said the Oscar-winning actress had earned the recognition.

“I can’t think of anyone more deserving. She is one of the greatest actresses that we have today,” she said on Wednesday. “Truth” by director James Vanderbilt is based on the memoirs of US journalist Mary Mapes and centres on the scandal caused by a report by Dan Rather, played by Robert Redford, about then US president George W. Bush’s military service.

The backlash against allegations that Bush was able to avoid the war in Vietnam ruined the careers of Mapes and Rather. Blanchett said she read Vanderbilt’s script in one sitting. “Once you get on it’s like a freight train, and I think that must have been the experience for the actual real-life protagonists in the story. I was gripped by it,” she said in a statement.

“I was horrified by the personal attacks against Mary. It was really the advent of the blogosphere, and to witness someone’s fall from grace via these so-called Internet reports was chilling.” The actress also took part in a discussion on the role of women in cinema — a debate at the heart of this year’s London Film Festival.

“Every time there’s interesting complex roles played by actresses on screen, someone says: ‘Do you think this is a breakthrough? Does this mean there is going to be more of the same?” she said.

“We seem to every year find ourselves in the same conversation, that somehow it’s remarkable. I think there is a swathe of great roles for women and certainly a swathe of wonderful female performers. I think it’s time to get on with it,” she added.

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