Jessica Chastain Finds ‘Disturbing’ How Women Were Portrayed in Cannes Movies

The jury member was honest when asked, despite Sofia Coppola’s historic win for Best Director

Jessica Chastain

Sofia Coppola may have won the Best Director Prize at the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday, but jury member Jessica Chastain had some honest feedback about how women were depicted in the other films in competition.

Speaking at a closing press conference, Chastain said she found the depiction of women “disturbing”:

“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 were represented,” said Chastain, as jury president Pedro Almodovar nodded. “It was quite disturbing to me, to be honest – with some exceptions.”

She went on: ” For the most part I was surprised by the representation of female characters on screen in these films, and I do hope that when we include more female storytellers we will have more of the women I recognize in my day to day life, those who are proactive, have their own agency, don’t just react to the men around them, they have their own point of view.”

The issue of representing women equally has plagued Cannes just as it has plagued Hollywood, with the festival reaching to include women directors but ultimately not achieving anything close to gender parity. This year there were three women directors in competition: Coppola, Naomi Kawase and Lynne Ramsay. Coppola became the second woman in history to win Best Director at Cannes, for her film, “The Beguiled.”