Director of Venice’s Western favorite blasts sexism

Source:AFP Published: 2018/9/3 19:15:41

French director Jacques Audiard went gunning for sexism in the film industry on Sunday after his extraordinary new Western, The Sisters Brothers, received a standing ovation at the Venice film festival.

The maker of A Prophet is the early favorite to pick up the Golden Lion for best film.

But as he basked in the applause of critics, Audiard blasted the festival's organizers with both barrels for choosing only one film by a woman to vie for the top prize.

"I was surprised when I read that the line-up was 20 men against one woman," Audiard told reporters.

"I wrote to the other directors but there wasn't much a reaction," he added.

The acclaimed auteur attacked the "opaque" way films were picked for big prizes, adding that "in the 25 years my films have been competing, I have never seen a woman at the head of a festival."

His comments come after Venice - now the key launchpad for the Oscars race - was accused of "toxic masculinity" for all but cold-shouldering women directors for a second year in succession.

Festival director Alberto Barbera even threatened to quit rather than give in to quotas before Venice bowed on Friday to the 50/50 by 2020 equality goals already signed by Cannes and other festivals.

He had insisted that films should be chosen on merit and not on the film-maker's gender.

But Audiard - who faces stiff competition in a rich and starry Venice line-up - was having none of it. "Let's stop thinking about the sex of film, it doesn't make sense.

"We can, however, count equality - it's very simple... When we start getting serious we can avoid aberrations like 20 against one."

Audiard said that he was not attacking Barbera's integrity, but "there was a problem [in the industry]. The other problem is that for 25 years we have had the same people at the top, the same men, who have changed a little bit, but who are still there."

Posted in: FILM

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