Jessica Chastain was a jury member at this year's Cannes Film Festival, but that didn't mean she automatically approved of what she saw. At the final press conference when the festival closed Sunday, the actress responded with criticism when a reporter asked about the female filmmakers at the festival. "This is the first time I’ve watched 20 films in 10 days," she said. "The one thing I really took 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." She noted that if there were more female filmmakers, "more authentic female characters" would follow.
Those characters, she said, would be more like "the women 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." Other jury members agreed with her on the need for more female storytellers, and then fellow jury member Will Smith added, "A couple black folks won't hurt either." Vanity Fair calls Chastain's words "the feminist critique [Cannes] needed to hear," while Jezebel notes that more people in showbiz should be "asking themselves deeply about why their industry’s history up to this day is one of failing to represent, nominate, and award prizes to people who aren’t men and ... who aren’t white."