Jessica Chastain: We Need More Female Storytellers
JESSICA CHASTAIN has spoken out about the representation of women in film at a press conference at the closing ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival. Chastain was a member of this year’s jury, lead by Pedro Almodovar.
Despite a sea of successes for a handful of women at this year’s event – Kristen Stewart’s directorial debut received critical acclaim, Nicole Kidman won the 70th Anniversary Prize and the best director accolade went to Sofia Coppola for her latest film The Beguiled, for only the second time in the film festival’s 70-year history – the industry has some way to go.
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“I do believe that if you have female storytelling, you also have more authentic female characters,” revealed the two-time Oscar nominee. “This is the first time I’ve watched 20 films in ten days – and I love movies – 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.”
The actress called for more female storytellers as a way of approaching the age-old issue, and hoped that more real women from everyday life could be represented on screen in the future.
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“There are some exceptions, I will say,” Chastain added. “But for the most part I was surprised with the representation of female characters on screen in these films, and I do hope that when we include more female storytellers we will have more of the women that I recognise in my day-to-day life. Ones that are proactive, have their own agencies, don’t just react to the men around them, they have their own point of view.”
The clip of the press conference has gone viral since female director Ava DuVernay shared the video. Other female celebrities, including America Ferrera and Debra Messing, have been in agreement with Chastain’s speech, sharing the clip on Twitter.