Natalie Portman Calls Female Gaze Idea ‘Reductive’: Filmmaking ‘Doesn’t Relate to Gender’

Natalie Portman is weighing on the “reductive” concept of a female gaze onscreen.

Portman, who leads Todd Haynes’ “May December,” told Vanity Fair France (via Variety) that the gender of a filmmaker shouldn’t relate to their movie.

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“Female directors should have the same opportunities as their male counterparts,” Portman said. “But the experience of working with a director has to do with the individual and it doesn’t relate to gender.”

The Academy Award winner added that “to say that a female director has a particular gaze is reductive of women’s individuality and points of view.”

She continued that “May December” helmer Haynes, for example, “has an in-depth understanding of human behavior. His female characters are complex and multidimensional.”

Earlier this year, Portman reflected on the legacy of the Time’s Up movement in Hollywood, of which she was a founding member. The organization and social campaign addressed sexual harassment in the workplace, namely in Hollywood. Kerry Washington, Brie Larson, Ashley Judd, Reese Witherspoon, and Shonda Rhimes were among the leading activists of the movement.

“It was really, really heartbreaking that Time’s Up dissipated the way it did,” Portman said, noting the CEO exiting in 2021. “I think a lot of people made mistakes, but mistakes are deadly for activism. You have to be so perfect in order to demand the change that you want to see, and I don’t know, maybe acknowledging all our imperfection as humans and saying that people can do something wrong and also be good at something else, having a little bit more shades of gray might actually let us get to more progress.”

She added, “There was something so powerful about just gathering women with similar experiences and sharing. And so many amazing things have spun off it that I think those relationships have persisted and have turned into incredible other projects, but it still is painful that Time’s Up doesn’t exist anymore as it was. For an entire movement to not be allowed to exist because of individual mistakes or even collective mistakes, I think that we have to be able to make mistakes and learn from them and allow that.”

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