Cannes Film Festival: Isabelle Huppert says more female films needed

Oscar nominee Isabelle Huppert says women’s voices need to be heard more clearly in the film world.

Speaking at the Cannes Film Festival, she also said she had never personally experienced sexism in the industry.

There are 12 films by female directors being shown at Cannes, up three from last year. In 2012, there had been none.

Huppert told the BBC: “I think the message has been clearly heard. But on the other hand, you don’t want to bring women just to bring women.”

The French actress, nominated for an Oscar for her role in controversial drama Elle earlier this year, continued: “You have to strike the right balance between awareness and the reality of the situation…

“A good film is a good film. But we have to create the best possible conditions so there are more female films.”

‘Women pay strong price’

Asked why the issue of equality was still an issue in 2017, she said: “A lot has been done already, but there’s still so much to do.

“And maybe not only in [the UK and France] but in poor countries, where most of the time women pay a strong price for difficult economic conditions and political conditions. Women are the first victims – it’s no secret.”

Huppert was speaking after her talk at Cannes as part of the Women in Motion programme, which highlights women’s contribution to the film industry.

The actress said she had never been subject to sexist behaviour within the industry, saying she did “everything possible” to avoid those situations.

“I can figure it out from very, very far – I manage to never get close to it. I avoid it,” she said.

Huppert said she was glad the issue of equality was being talked about more.

“There’s no reason why women, for the same work, should be paid less. And it’s good that people talk about how difficult it is to make a film.”

Cannes is ‘centre of life’

Huppert has two films showing at Cannes this year: Claire’s Camera, which was filmed in Cannes, and Happy End, directed by Michael Haneke.

Happy End, in competition for the Palme d’Or, is a family drama set in Calais amidst the refugee crisis.

Huppert told the BBC: “I just wanted to do a Michael Haneke film. I have a very privileged relationship with him as a director.”

Asked if there was a dream role she would love to play, Huppert replied: “I don’t have dreams. Things happen or don’t happen – most of the time they happen unexpectedly and there is nothing that can be done about it before.”

The festival in the south of France is celebrating its 70th year.

Huppert said: “For me, it’s very important as I have been to Cannes so many times, and had so many movies in competition or out of competition.

“Cannes really is in the centre of my life.”


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