"Blonde" director Andrew Dominik recently weighed in on criticisms of his Marilyn Monroe biopic.
The filmmaker took issue with people who wanted his movie to be "empowering" toward women.
"She's dead," Dominik said. "The movie doesn't make any difference in one way or another."
"Blonde" director Andrew Dominik spoke about the criticisms leveled against his Marilyn Monroe biopic during a recent appearance at the Red Sea International Film Festival in Saudi Arabia.
The Netflix film, which stars Ana de Armas as the late movie star, was accused by some of glorifying female pain and suffering.
Dominik told audiences at the film festival that modern viewers only want to see women who are "empowered," according to The Hollywood Reporter's Alex Ritman.
"Now we're living in a time where it's important to present women as empowered, and they want to reinvent Marilyn Monroe as an empowered woman," Dominik said. "That's what they want to see. And if you're not showing them that, it upsets them."
Per THR, Dominik also addressed critiques that the film (based on the 1999 novel of the same name) exploited Monroe's already complicated legacy.
Those criticisms, Dominik said, were "kind of strange, because she's dead. The movie doesn't make any difference in one way or another."
"What they really mean is that the film exploited their memory of her, their image of her, which is fair enough. But that's the whole idea of the movie," he continued. "It's trying to take the iconography of her life and put it into service of something else, it's trying to take things that you're familiar with, and turning the meaning inside out."
According to THR, Dominik said he was "really pleased" that "Blonde" caused such feelings of outrage in viewers. The director also said American films were becoming "more conservative," thus leading to tired tropes like those found in "bedtime stories."
"I don't want to make bedtime stories," Dominik said.
As THR noted, "Blonde" has caused quite a stir amongst audiences after premiering at the Venice Film Festival in September. While the biopic reportedly received a 14-minute standing ovation after screening at Venice, numerous other critics have taken issue with the way Monroe was depicted in the film, as well as the film's treatment of her abortion.
Monroe's short life has been the subject of numerous films, documentaries, and books ever since the actress died of a drug overdose in August 1962 at the age of 36. However, the circumstances surrounding Monroe's death — which was ruled a "probable suicide" — caused many to speculate over the star's final moments for years after the fact. She remains to this day one of the most iconic movie stars to ever live, inspiring millions of fans and celebrities like Kim Kardashian.
"Blonde" is currently available to stream on Netflix.
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