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President of the jury Pedro Almodovar and jury members Jessica Chastain and Paolo Sorrentino attends the Palme D'Or winner press conference during the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 28, 2017 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Film criticism

Jessica Chastain says depiction of women in movies at Cannes was ‘disturbing’

May 30, 2017

Speaking at the final press conference of the 70th Annual Cannes Film Festival on Monday, Jessica Chastain criticized the depiction of women on the big screen at this year’s competition, saying it was “disturbing.”

Chastain served on the festival jury this year said she noticed a pattern in the way women are portrayed on the big screen. “This is the first time I’ve watched 20 films in 10 days, and I love movies,” Chastain said. “And the one thing I really took away from this experience is how the world views women from the female characters that I saw represented. It was quite disturbing to me, to be honest — with, there are some exceptions, I will say.” She added, “I hope when we include female storytellers they will be more like the women I know in my day-to-day life. They are proactive, have their own point of view and don’t just react to men around them.”

Chastain has spoken out about the film industry’s problem with gender inequality — and has been proactive in doing something about it. Last year, she launched an all-female production company, and she’s weighed on on the Hollywood gender pay gap. She’s also taken the industry to task for over-sexualizing strong women.

At the Cannes press conference, Chastain elaborated on her point, explaining the gender dynamics behind why audiences get the female characters that end up on the big screen. “Critics are the ones who suggest to an audience what stories are valuable or worthwhile,” she said. “When you have 90 percent of film critics as male, and perhaps not able to review a film from a gender-neutral point of view, we need to understand that we need more female critics to let women and men know that stories about women are just as interesting as stories about men.” Chastain’s remarks resonated with Oscar-winning filmmaker Ava Duvernay, who tweeted a clip of her comments. Watch it below — it’s been retweeted more than 29,000 times as of this writing.

Read the full story at The Guardian.


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