august 31
september 10

Just be yourself

The second day of talks in the section Miu Miu Women's Tales once again focused on the theme of women and creativity, especially during the afternoon session with Marina Spada.
The director of As The Shadow engaged in a battle of wits with a "disoriented" Giorgio Gosetti (besieged by an audience made up almost entirely of women festivalgoers), over the fact that a woman's work in the film industry, as in other areas, is constantly underestimated, compared to men's efforts. Even today, not enough is done to give films by women the visibility they deserve. "Bearing in mind the fact that making films is difficult everywhere, for anyone, " she observed, "above and beyond the production opportunities and hence the gender divide, I simply cannot understand why one rather obvious fact is not given any consideration: that is, that the majority of the filmgoing public is composed of women, and many of those women are active in the culture industry."

During the session, the idea of introducing so-called quotas for women reemerged. Spada is against the idea in principle, because success should be a question of merit and not linked to one's gender. Yet the director from Milan did admit she had capitulated in the face of the evidence. "If this situation of blatant discrimination continues, I'll be all in favor of quotas."

Earlier in the day, the morning session, had seen three actresses take the stage of the Italian Pavilion at the Hotel Excelsior: Grace Gummer, Ellie Bamber and Zoey Deutch. Three young women with multiple film credits under their belts, who talked with moderator Penny Martin about their experiences in the film and television industries.

On this occasion as well, the theme was the difference in the way men and women in the business are treated, and the three actresses showed their disapproval, nicely summed up by Grace Gummer's lapidary comment: "A question about gender discrimination should have no reason to exist."

A ‘second-generation actress' herself, Gummer hastened to declare that people have to get ahead in life on their own merits, with no help from anyone else, and without being cowed by decidely intimidating role models, a good example being her own mother Meryl Streep.

"Just be yourself" was one of the leitmotifs of the entire dialogue. Ellie Bamber has extended this principle to apply to interviews or walks down the red carpet as well. Apropos of red carpets, Zoey Deutch confided that she is supremely uncomfortable when those cameras start to flash in her direction.

The star of Everybody Wants Some! feels that beyond the industry milieu and an actress's inevitably winding up the center of attention, another very important element is the relationship one establishes with the director. "In an ideal world, you get perfect parts. In reality, you have to make compromises. Even when a role is no great shakes initially, you can probably improve it by working on the character. You can listen to the director and heed your own instinct at the same time." The same holds for Ellie Bamber, at Venice in Tom Ford's film Nocturnal Animals: "The dialogue between actors and directors is all-important. It has to be an exchange of viewpoints, feelings and ideas."


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