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Brazilian director Kleber Mendonca Filho on Wednesday marked the premiere of his movie at the Cannes Film Festival by warning about the threat of what he said were fascist ideas in his nation following the impeachment of the president.

The critic-turned-director was speaking one day after the cast and crew from his acclaimed Aquarius staged a protest on Cannes' red carpet about the moves to oust Dilma Rousseff from office.

"A very dramatic divide" has opened up in Brazil, said Filho, which he said had in turn helped to encourage the right side of political life in the country and the expression of "fascist ideas."

"I did not want to do something noisy," Filho said, referring to Tuesday's protest, which included about a dozen protestors holding signs claiming "A coup took place in Brazil."

Filho's film is one of 21 movies competing for top honours at the festival including for the coveted Palme d'Or for best picture.

In the film, Kiss of the Spider Woman star Sonia Braga plays a 65-year-old widow who is the last resident in a building battling developers trying to evict her.

This year's Cannes has been one of the most political in the festival's recent history, with Braga also lashing out at developments in Brazil, which had been under military rule for about 20 years until 1985.

"It's important to know what is happening in Brazil," she said, adding that democracy "is hard to get but easy to lose."

Both US actors George Clooney and Viggo Mortensen have taken swipes at the US Republican frontrunner Donald Trump for the November presidential elections during festival.

Filipino director Brillante Mendoza also came out on Wednesday in support of his nation's new president, the tough-talking Rodrigo Duterte, who has a reputation for zero tolerance of crime.

Mendoza's movie is about an impoverished mother of four who along with her husband runs a small convenience store in a poor part of Manila and sells drugs on the side to make ends meet.

Following their arrest, they soon find themselves battling to buy their way out of the grip of corrupt police.

"I'm hopeful about the new president," said the 55-year-old Mendoza, who is the mainstay of Filipino cinema and South-East Asian filmmaking.

Ma' Rosa's screening represented Mendoza's fourth time in Cannes after winning the festival's best director award for his violent crime thriller Kinatay in 2009.

Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne were also in Cannes on Wednesday to launch their fresh bid for top honours.

The unknown Girl is about a young doctor Dr Jenny Davin, who decides against opening the door after someone rings on her surgery bell after hours.

The next day, the police tell her that the body of a young unidentified woman has been found near her practice.

But unlike many other people around the world, Davin, who is played by French actress Adele Haenel, does not turn away her from her responsibilities and instead launches her own investigation to find the woman's identity.

The Unknown Girl represents the Dardenne brothers' bid for a third Palme d'Or.

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