Female directors were on the up at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and Sofia Coppola was honoured with Best Director. But the film industry still has a long way to go with how women are being represented on both sides of the camera, actress Jessica Chastain says.

Jessica spoke candidly about how she found ‘the representation of female characters on screen’ to be ‘disturbing’, while reflecting on the festival as it came to a close at a press conference yesterday.

‘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,’ the actress and Cannes jury member told reporters after Sofia picked up Best Director for The Beguiled.

‘It was quite disturbing to me, to be honest. There are some exceptions, I will say. For the most part, I was surprised by the representation of female characters on screen in these films.’

Award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay was also present at the conference, and nodded her head in agreement at Chastain’s emotive comments.


‘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, that have their own agencies. They just don’t react to the men around them. They have their own point of view,’ she said.

Jessica – an advocate for gender equality in Hollywood – recently told Variety: ‘I’m not taking jobs any more where I’m getting paid a quarter of what the male costar is being paid. I’m not allowing that in my life.’

This year, the festival included 12 women directors in the official selection, up from nine last year. Sofia became the second female director to win the director award in the festival’s 70-year history.

Via Marie Claire USA