For a few years now, several media outlets—including Harpers Bazaar, Vibe, Vox, The Wrap, USA Today—had erroneously reported that Mexican iconic actress Dolores del Río (née María de los Dolores Asúnsolo López-Negrete, 1904-1983) was the first woman to have ever served on the Cannes jury.
Yet, as much as we’d like the story to be true—particularly considering Cannes tepid’s history in relation to women and Latin American filmmakers—we’re sorry to inform that the information is incorrect. While she indeed serve as a juror in the 1957 edition of the festival, she was not the first woman selected as a jury member.
As early as the first edition of the prestigious French film festival in 1946, there was a female juror. The pioneer was British-born Iris Barry, who established the London Film Society, and became the first curator of the film department of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Furthermore, Chilean journalist María Romero (1909-1990) became the first Latin American woman to serve on Cannes’ jury one year before Del Río, in 1956.
Del Río starred in numerous Mexican and American productions, and is largely considered as the first major female Latin American crossover star in Hollywood. She was indeed a trailblazer in Mexican and world cinema, but being the first female juror at Cannes was not one of her achievements.