ENTERTAINMENT

Jessica Chastain Highlights Cannes Film Festival's Sexism Problem

She admits to being 'surprised' at how women were depicted in this year's offerings.

30/05/2017 11:59 BST

Jessica Chastain has called out the selection of films showcased at this year’s Cannes festival, claiming the representation of women on screen was “disturbing”.

The ‘Interstellar’ actress is a jury member at the festival, and said that watching the selection of films on offer proved to be a less enjoyable experience than she’d hoped, as she was dissatisfied with the depiction of many of the films’ female characters.

Speaking at a press conference, she said: “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 – with some exceptions, I will say. But for the most part I was surprised with the representation of female characters in these films.”

While Sofia Coppola was named Best Director at this year’s festival, making her the second woman in 71 years to be given the title, Jessica added that there’s a long way to go in terms of females working behind the scenes in film.

She continued: “I do believe that if you have female storytelling you have more authentic female characters… 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 [on screen].

“[Women] that are proactive, have their own agency and don’t just react to the men around them… they have their own point of view.”

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Jessica and the rest of the Cannes jury on Sunday (28 May)

Fellow juror Will Smith then interjected, with a note about a lack of racial diversity in film, adding: “A couple of black folks won’t hurt there either.”

Jessica is currently starring in ‘The Zookeeper’s Wife’, and spoke recently about how she enjoyed taking on roles that she felt helped blur gender norms.

She told CNN: “Every woman is a strong woman. I think that in the past, we’ve connected strength, leadership, ambition and power as masculine traits, and compassion and emotion and kindness and softness as feminine traits.

“The great thing about today is the boundaries are being blurred.”

Jessica has also spoken in the past about the issue of equal pay for men and women, revealing last month she’d turned down a “huge role” as her wage wasn’t equal to her male co-stars.

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