Great roles for women are hard to come by in Hollywood these days. That's bad news for actresses and film fans. But things are very different in France, according to San Francisco Chronicle film critic Mick LaSalle. His new book, "Beauty of the Real," celebrates what he calls a Golden Age for female talent in contemporary French film.
On the Lack of Opportunities for Actresses in Hollywood
"We have great actresses we just don't have great opportunities. Meryl Streep gets great opportunities, Kate Blanchett does, Kate Winslett does, but it's still more of a familiar phenomenon for women to either disappear at 40 or 45 or maybe in the course of their entire lives, make one good movie. Meg Ryan made In the Cut. She made a couple of other ones. She'll never make another movie like In the Cut again."
On the Mentality that Drives American Cinema
"If you look at the box office… charts up until like the 1970s, the movies that made the most money would also be really good movies. Not all of them, but a lot of them, most of them. And now, the movies that make a lot of money are pretty much garbage. And they’re all geared toward a young male, a young man’s mentality— it's very young; it’s not even a man, it’s like a boy’s mentality. And this is not boding well for women in cinema."
On What's Creating the Plethora of Female Talent in French Film
"It’s three things at once happening. You have an audience that wants to see women. You have women as directors and you have a pool of great stars and [those three things] all feed each other.