“Film directors shoot with half the budget available to men. That, in addition to a lack of confidence in female talent, is a lack of respect ”, she says Chus Gutierrez (Granada, 1962), who has been making films for almost three decades. She, together Icíar Bollaín, Grace Querejeta and Isabel coixet, made women’s names stop being a rarity on the billboard of the Spanish cinema of the nineties. And not only did they achieve it in the section dedicated to directing, they also nurtured the industry of female protagonists who played solid and complex female characters.
For Gutiérrez, the increased presence of women directing films in recent years can provide misleading data. “If they only do it in the documentary genre or in low-budget independent fictions, their presence in theaters is still a very minority,” he warns.
The director and screenwriter of Sublet (1992), Gypsy soul (nineteen ninety six), The warm (2005) and Return to Hansala (2008) is during these days jury of the third edition of the Film Festival for Women, which is held in different Madrid venues until November 15. It is a trip around the world for female talent. This year, countries such as Chile (Maite Alberdi), Afghanistan (Shahrbanoo Sadat), Mexico (Fernanda Valadez) and South Korea (Yoon Ga-eun) compete. The contest, in addition to remembering that the directors make all kinds of films, and not just dramas designed for female audiences, questions the role of women that the screens and the media show the viewer. That is precisely the proposal of Role & Role, Gutiérrez’s documentary that is screened this Thursday at the Sala Berlanga as part of the festival’s parallel program.
Chus Gutiérrez, jury of the Film Festival for Women and director of the documentary Role & Role, at the Fundación Telefónica de Madrid.
“If you can see it, you can become it” is the message Gutiérrez sends to women (and men) through his new film. In other words, if society paid more and better attention to women’s achievements, it would illuminate new aspirations among the youngest. To do this, it has collected the testimonies of the artist Yolanda Domínguez, the president of the Association of Moroccan Women Entrepreneurs, Asmâa Morine Azzouzi, and her partner and friend Icíar Bollaín, among others.
While gathering information to defend this thesis, the filmmaker was faced with various data that, despite her own experience, she did not expect to find in 2020. “One of them is that the presence of women in the world press has barely increased in the recent years ”, he says in reference to a study of The Global Media Monitoring Project. “That is why projects such as the International Film Festival made by Women are important, which opens our gaze to diversity,” he defends.
The other data that surprised Gutiérrez was the presence of university students studying careers related to science and technology, considered the quarry of the professions of the future. According to Unesco, women only occupy 35% of the places in the faculties of the whole world dedicated to these disciplines. The figure has dropped in some countries from previous decades. “This occurs due to the negative perception that women and girls have of our own abilities,” says the director.
But his documentary Role & Role It does not seek a war of the sexes, but rather to appeal to the responsibility of the culture industry in projecting an adequate image of women: “I think that most of society wants equality, but almost all the great stories are told men, these stories are almost always going to be starred by men and they will have a masculine point of view. It is even a question of logic, without there being a bad intention on the part of those authors ”.
When these female characters devised by men, in addition to being secondary, are blurred or represented with negative stereotypes, that is when the problem worsens. “Posters for movies, series or plays are the first information we receive about a cultural product. If we analyze them, we often find those derogatory roles that are dedicated to women. And the reflection that we receive from ourselves through them is that we are secondary or one-dimensional beings ”, laments the filmmaker.
An image from the documentary Role & Role