The lack of women in film has been the talk of festivals around the world for the past year or two. But “Suspiria” star Dakota Johnson, who is a member of James Gray’s jury at Marrakech Film Festival, made it clear she had a different take on this topic during the jury press conference on Saturday.
Addressing the fact that this year’s Marrakech jury had more women than men, Johnson said: “I am under the impression that there are always many women involved in cinema – behind the camera, in front of the camera, behind film festivals, in film festivals. This jury happens to have more women and perhaps there might be an avenue for this to occur more often in the future, and I think that’s awesome.”
Moroccan director Tala Hadid said the real issue was not merely the representation of women but the “power sharing.” “It’s another long battle for women.”
Ramsey, whose latest film “You Were Never Really Here” is nominated for four Spirit Awards, also weighed in on the gender issue. She said that since women represent about half of the world population there is no reason why they are not equally represented in the film sector; but she also argued that the consideration of gender, sexual orientation or nationality should not come into play when people are discovering a film.
Reflecting on the impact of the women’s movement in her country, India, actress Ileana D’Cruz said “it is definitely changing… there is a big shift” in the industry. She added that there were “a lot of different films and roles (for women) that are far more powerful.” She welcomed the fact that there are now more films with women in the lead roles that are box office hits.
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Mexican director Michel Franco, who was asked to comment on the selection of three Latin American movies in competition, alluded to the recent election of a far-right politician, Jair Bolsonaro, as president of Brazil.
“Our countries – and Brazil is a good example – are going through deep trouble. We come from countries that are very complicated, socially and politically, and that’s why our cinema has turned out to be so interesting in the last few years; because we had a lot to say, to discuss,” said Franco. “There is a huge need for young people to express themselves.”
Gray has attended the Marrakech Film Festival twice before, including in 2012 when he was on the jury presided over by John Boorman. Asked what he would be looking for in the first and second films competing, Gray offered a philosophical answer. “What makes for a good movie? Is it true to itself? Does it succeed on the terms it sets for itself? Is it honest, daring and sincere? And does it strive for its own truth?”
Also sitting on the jury are Lebanese filmmaker and visual artist Joana Hadjithomas and German actor Daniel Brühl. The festival kicked off on Friday with the screening of Julian Schnabel’s “At Eternity’s Gate,” and runs until Dec. 8.