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.
“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.”
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: