These might the kind of sound bites you'd think would come from, say, the premiere of a Michael Bay movie, but — nope! Roman Polanski and Francois Ozon, two iconic male directors, with scores of nuanced, sensitive and artistic films behind them (although, obviously, not without a patchy sexual history on Polanski's end) went to Cannes, arguably the highest-minded annual film festival there is, and said some of the most ass-backwards shit about women's relationships with contraception and prostitution that I've ever heard. As if it would be completely okay to do so. Except, as far as we know, it was received okay at the festival; after all, only one female director's movie was selected for competition up against 19 entries from men.
This morning, Raw Story reports, Polanski addressed the press after a screening of his film Venus In Fur, when he was asked by a reporter how his view of women has changed over time:
“Offering flowers to a lady has become indecent. I think to level the genders — it’s purely idiotic. I think it’s a result… of progress in medicine. I think that the Pill has changed greatly the woman of our times, ‘masculinising’ her — how would you say it? [...] I think that it chases away the romance from our lives and that’s a great pity.”
Basically, we were all Jessica Rabbit before birth control turned us butch. Darn the advances of female reproductive science! Imagine how lovely and ladylike we would all be if we were still balancing our humors by bloodletting. Anyone got a leech I can borrow real quick before my date tonight?
A few days prior, Young and Beautiful director Francis Ozon had something of a civilized throwdown with an interviewer from The Hollywood Reporter after he attributed the success of his movie — about a Parisian teen who becomes a hooker — to women's innate desire to be hookers:
I think women can really be connected with this girl because it’s a fantasy of many women to do prostitution. That doesn’t mean they do it, but the fact to be paid to have sex is something which is very obvious in feminine sexuality.
THR: Why do you believe that is a desire? I really don’t think that’s the case.
Ozon: I think that’s the case because sexuality is complex. I think to be an object in sexuality is something very obvious you know, to be desired, to be used. There is kind of a passivity that women are looking for. That’s why the scene with Charlotte Rampling is very important, because she says [prostitution] was a fantasy she always had but never had the courage to do it. She was too shy.
THR: How did you come to the conclusion that is a theme in women’s sexuality?
Ozon: It is the reality. You speak with many women, you speak with shrinks, everybody knows that. Well, maybe not Americans!
There's a major difference between being a passive object of desire and being desired, period. Also, maybe the translation's a little wonky (although the interview's from the Paris THR, so her French's probably pretty good), but that last bit — is that "Maybe American women don't want to be hookers" or "Maybe American women don't know that they want to be hookers?" I just... I don't even know.