Appearing at Variety and Kering’s Women in Motion talk at the Cannes Film Festival, director and actress Jodie Foster spoke out about the trope—often applied by male film makers—of using rape as the lone source of female character development.

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“It was ridiculous, it was every single movie I saw,” Foster said. “If you really got to what was the overriding motivation...it was always rape because for some reason men saw that as this incredibly dramatic thing. ‘Well that’s easy! I can just pluck that one out of the sky and apply it to her.’ ”

Variety’s Maria Cavassuto reports:

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Foster provided more examples, such as when women are having trouble with their bosses or superiors in a story. She came to the same conclusion: “Well, it was because she was raped and you’re going to find that out in the end.”

The actress called this trend “ridiculous,” stating that this background to female characters was embedded in many movies she watched.

“[Male filmmakers] were unable to put themselves in [a female character’s] shoes and her body and say, ‘She was competitive with her mother,’” Foster added. “They were unable to make that transition.”

Foster won an Oscar for her portrayal of Sarah Tobias, a rape victim who takes the stand against her attackers, in 1988's The Accused (written by Tom Topor and directed by Jonathan Kaplan). She has since moved into directing and is currently premiering her new film Money Monster at Cannes.


Image via Getty.