Jessica Chastain Calls Cannes Films' Female Representation 'Disturbing'

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By Ashley Lee, The Hollywood Reporter

Jessica Chastain said she found the onscreen representation of women in this year’s Cannes Film Festival lineup “quite disturbing.”

“I do believe that if you have female storytelling you also have more authentic female characters,” Chastain, who served on the jury, said during a press conference on Sunday. “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. It was quite disturbing to me, to be honest.”

Related: Jessica Chastain: “I Was Born as an Actress” at Cannes

Chastain made the comments just after her jury awarded Sofia Coppola with the fest’s best director award. The Beguiled helmer is only the second woman awarded with the honor, and the first since 1961.

Jessica Chastain at Cannes (Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Jessica Chastain at Cannes (Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

“There are some exceptions, I will say, but for the most part, I was surprised with the representation of female characters onscreen,” she continued. “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 agencies, don’t just react to the men around them. They have their own point of view.”

Ava DuVernay, America Ferrera and Debra Messing were among those who praised her remarks on social media.

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