Actress and producer Jessica Chastain, who was on the jury of the recently concluded Cannes Festival in France, said she was disturbed by how women were represented in the films screened this year. She said that there was a need for more women storytellers, and more authentic women characters on screen.
Chastain was speaking at the closing session of the 70th edition of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. She said she was surprised by how the world sees women. She said, “I do hope that when we include more female storytellers we will have more of the women I recognise in my day to day life. Those who are proactive, have their own agency, don’t just react to the men around them; they have their own point of view.”
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) May 29, 2017
Jessica’s comments about more women storytellers is particularly pertinent given that Sophia Coppola became just the second woman director to win a Best Director award at the festival, in over forty years. The last women to win it was Yuliya Solntseva, in 1961. Jessica has herself been a strong critic of the wage-gap in the film industry. She had earlier refused to work on films where she was paid less than the male star.
Adding to the debate over representation, Will Smith, also a juror at Cannes, said, “a couple black folks won’t hurt there either. We’ll talk about that in another time.” Be it the Academy in Hollywood, or the Cannes in France, most of the world’s leading film prizes are determined by, and go to, white men with privilege.
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