Jessica Chastain Calls Out ‘Disturbing’ Depiction of Women in Film at Cannes

Jessica Chastain
REX/Shutterstock

Jessica Chastain spoke to the lack of quality female representation in film at the Cannes Film Festival, during a press conference on Sunday.

The actress, who served on the jury for the film fest, said that she found the depiction of women in films that she saw “quite disturbing” as a whole.

“I do believe that if you have female storytelling you also have more authentic female characters,” Chastain said in the a clip that has since gone viral after Ava DuVernay‏ and others shared it on social media.

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“This is the first time I’ve watched 20 films in 10 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. And it was quite disturbing to me, to be honest,” she said.

“There are some exceptions, I will say, but for the most part, I was surprised with the representation of female characters onscreen in these films,” she added. “I do hope that when we include more female storytellers, we will have more of the women that I recognize in my day-to-day life — ones that are proactive, have their own agency, don’t just react to the men around them. They have their own point of view.”

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Chastain wasn’t the only one who spoke up during the press conference. “Toni Erdmann” director Maren Ade insisted that the jury “didn’t give awards to women because they are women” and called for not only more female directors, but more suitable material as well. “We are missing a lot of stories they can tell, not just about female characters but their view on men,” she said.

Chinese actress Fan Bingbing added, “We want to encourage female filmmakers to present more female characters.”

The comments came after the jury named Sofia Coppola the festival’s best director award for “The Beguiled,” making her the second woman awarded with the honor, and the first since 1961.

Watch the video of Chastain below:

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  1. Mary Martinez says:

    A simple solution is for actresses to turn down stereotypical roles. Literally put their money where their mouth is. Take a piece of the backend on riskier but more fulfilling projects instead of getting a huge sign on in exchange for top billing as the “damsel in distress”. If they truly love the craft and not just the money and billing then we would see more courageous, riskier and full bodied roles for women. Its your call! Take the money and quit griping or be a true artist who can stand proudly by your work.

  2. godzilla502 says:

    Some folks are just not happy unless they’re complaining.

    Whether it’s the riling up the masses with the fake pay equality issue. There are real pay inequality issues in this country, but they DON’T EXIST for A list actors. For the record, I know that Jessica made MORE than Sam Rockwell in their just recently finished film, but it doesn’t stop Jessica from spouting on about how she doesn’t get as much as her male co-stars. Anne Hathaway made more than Jason Sudekis on COLOSSAL. Emma Watson made more than Dan Stevens in BEAUTY & THE BEAST. And Jessica Lawrence made more money than Chris Pratt on PASSENGERS. The bigger named star at the time the deal’s made makes more money. That’s reality. And that’s the only way the system works. If you truly want EVERY ACTOR to get paid the same, then how exactly does that work? Does CASHIER #2 make the same daily rate as Tom Cruise? Julia Roberts? Who decides which actor/actress gets equal pay and who doesn’t?

    If Jessica, or JLaw or Diane Kruger truly believe that pay equality is important, than WHY did they agree to deals that pay them more than their male co-stars? Why didn’t JLaw say, “You know, Chris, I’m making $20 million, you’re making $12 million. So why don’t I kick over $4 million of my money to make us even?

    I always find it in bad taste that you criticize the organization that flew you first class and put you up in 5 star luxury and gave you the “burden” of watching 20 movies in 10 days!

    Life sucks for Jessica.

  3. JR says:

    She should be more concerned about her failing career

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