Charlize Theron’s character Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road is pretty much on an equal footing with Tom Hardy playing the road warrior of
the title, but the South African actress says it’s not often that way in an
industry dominated by men.
The much heralded reboot of the famous 1980s dystopian action
franchise was screened yesterday at the Cannes International Film Festival,
where the subject of women’s role in cinema – not just in front of the camera
but behind it – has been in the spotlight this year.
Theron, who is best known as an actress but also produced and
starred in Monster (2003), said too many women “have to sit around and really
wait for the right thing to come around and there’s a lot of wrong things going
around and I feel like there is an injustice”.
Men get the better opportunities, she told Reuters, but when women
do get a chance, people connect strongly with the films.
“They’re always the movies people talk about the most, they’re the
critically acclaimed ones, and I just don’t understand why we can’t take that
momentum and really put it in gear,” she said.
Thierry Fremaux, the director of the Cannes festival, provoked the
debate by pointing out in interviews that “the number of female directors in the
world is too low”.
For the first time in decades, the festival opened with a film
directed by a woman, France’s Emmanuelle Bercot, but Fremaux said films had been
selected because they suited the festival, not because of the director’s
“I think the most important fight is the situation of women in the
world, not only in cinema,” he said.
Bercot said she didn’t think gender had been a factor in her film
being shown, out of competition, at the star-studded gala on Wednesday
“I happen to be a woman, but I am honoured by the fact that the
film has been selected not by the fact that I’m being gifted with something that
is usually reserved to men,” she said.
Just two of the 19 in-competition films are directed by women –
Marguerite et Julien by Valerie Donzelli and Mon Roi by Maiwenn. But Oscar
winning actress Natalie Portman marks her directorial debut with an
out-of-competition screening of A Tale of Love and Darkness.
According to Isabella Rossellini, who heads the jury of Un Certain
Regard – a competition that runs parallel to the main Palme d’Or event at Cannes
– entering the film industry is not the hardest part of a woman’s career.
“One thing that was difficult to me was integrating my family with
my career. Women were able to enter the workforce but ... [it was] harder for me
was to integrate my children with my professional life,” she said on
“I tried to have them come with me on the set, but as they grew
older they wanted to stay with their friends, there was school.”
Rossellini, who burst into the limelight when she played Dorothy
Vallens in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet in 1986, believes things will change faster
if the film industry broadens its audience base.
“Especially in American cinema, you foster an audience of young
males,” she said.
“If you foster an audience for subjects that are interesting to
women then you also have an audience that is interested in these subjects. A lot
of films where people punch each other ... I’m not interested.”
Rossellini believes equality has a better chance in Europe,
especially in France, “where artists are so revered”.
“In Hollywood it’s more of an industry, here it is more of an art
24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.
Just another typical Tom Cruise action film, with nothing to get too excited about. Read More »
Add your review
Everything you need to know about the 4 new flicks releasing at the cinema this weekend. Read More »
Add your review
10 epic pics.
All the deets.
South AfricaCity Press
Johannesburg CBDResourcing Solutions
HousesR 3 220 000
HousesR 6 900 000
HousesR 3 300 000