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Oscar-winning French actor Marion Cotillard spoke about the “revolution” led by women to shake up the patriarchy since the start of #MeToo at the San Sebastian Film Festival where she received the Donostia Award for career achievement on Friday’s opening night.
“For the past several years, the subordination of women has become increasingly unacceptable in the public eye; it’s always been so but we talk about it much more today, obviously, since #MeToo. It has allowed women to speak freely, it’s a true revolution, an intense one and I am very happy to live it,” said Cotillard, who last played opposite Adam Driver in Leos Carax’s musical drama “Annette” which won a top prize at Cannes.
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“Today, as women, we know we can be supported by a community of women and men and that’s an important thing. The result is that there are indeed more women, more roles for women, and the more we speak about them, the more it changes the way we look at them,” she said.
Cotillard said “there are things that are no longer tolerated today. We didn’t accept before, but they were tolerated by a large part of the population.”
“Today there’s a big discussion and reassessment of the patriarchal system we live in, where women have a relative place,” argued Cotillard, who revealed that she greatly admired Greta Garbo because she was both feminine and masculine.
Cotillard also discussed her character in “Annette” which won Cannes’ best director award for Carax. She stars as a famous opera singer with a tormented family life. “I think we live in a different world than in the 1940s or 1950s when stars were being ‘built’ and their family lives were being negated,” said Cotillard. “Today, having a family and a career is much more celebrated and things are more balanced — if we need to have a private life and a family we can have that, along with a career.”
The actor said “having a somewhat normal life” also drives her inspiration and “desire to play characters that are completely different from who (she is).” “The more a character is different from me the more I enjoy playing the part.”
Cotillard, who is also at San Sebastian to present Flore Vasseur’s environment-themed documentary “Bigger Than Us” which she co-produced and narrated, said she got involved in philanthropic work because she “feels a need to fight against a system, or inequalities.” She said she also wants to use her celebrity status to “shine a light on the work of artists or activists such as the ones portrayed in ‘Bigger Than Us.'”
Speaking of her ability to work in Hollywood and in Europe, she noted that the Oscar she won for playing Edith Piaf in “La Vie en Rose” marked a turning point in her career. “There was a before and an after. This Oscar opened the doors to a more international film world, notably British and American films,” she said.
“I’m from a generation which grew up watching American films (…) Even if I never really dreamed of having a career outside of my home country, American cinema was part of my culture. There are lots of filmmakers I admire in the U.S. and more largely in the English-speaking world and the Oscar gave me access to these people,” said the actor, who’s worked with Michael Mann, Robert Zemeckis, Christopher Nolan and Steven Soderbergh, among others.
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