Chastain troubled by women's representation in films at Cannes


Female directors were on the up at this year's Cannes Film Festival where Sofia Coppola was honored with Best Director-but there's still more than can be done for women on both sides of the camera.

Jessica Chastain said she thinks the onscreen representation of women in this year's Cannes Film Festival lineup was "quite disturbing". There are some exceptions. "Ones that are proactive, have their own agencies, don't just react to the men around them, they have their own point of view", she added. "They have their own point-of-view". She spoke her mind at the recently concluding Cannes Film Festival, where she served as jury on the panel.

Chastain continued to respond to a reporter's question of whether the jury hopes to see more female filmmakers in future with a resounding yes, as fellow jury members like Paolo Sorrentino (The Young Pope) and jury president Pedro Almodóvar (Volver) nodded in agreement.

"This is the first time I've watched 20 films in 10 days and I love movies", said Chastain, who was a jury member.

What she saw didn't please her.

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The biggest films are nearly invariably blockbusters featuring mostly male superheroes directed by men - although just this week, ironically, the top movie opener is Wonder Woman, which stars a woman, Gal Gadot, and is directed by a woman, Patty Jenkins.

It took guts for Chastain to say what she did, no doubt about it.

Chastain's comments soon went viral, with more female leaders in the entertainment industry celebrating her candor. The movie's theme encompasses emotions and ideas based on a woman's experience as a schoolmistress, portrayed by Kidman, who tries to keep the girls in her class safe during the Civil War. Ramsay was the only other woman to win a top non-acting award, earning Best Screenplay for her film, You Were Never Really Here; she shared the prize with Greek filmmakers Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou for their movie, The Killing of a Sacred Deer. She agreed with Chastain's call for more women representation on the big screen.

There was a record number of lead roles for women a year ago, according to a study by the San Diego State University's Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film, but many in the industry still see a long march to equality.