Jane Fonda looks back at her acting career and her role as a campaigner for women’s rights at the Women in Motion Talk at La Cinémathèque française
Fonda covered the period from her early career, when her image as an object of male desire was imposed on her by men, to the stage of self-awareness that enabled her to free herself from such diktats. “I wasn’t going to be a leaf carried along by the current of a river any more, I wasn’t going to rely on other people’s desires, and I was going to take back control of my life!” she told the audience.
That desire to express her convictions later led her to move into directing. “I wanted to leave Hollywood,” she said. “I wasn’t being offered the roles I wanted. I decided to take things in hand.”
Fonda also raised the urgent issue of women who are subjected to sexual harassment, particularly in the cinema world, and highlighted the huge challenges that still need to be met, despite the recent advances. “Things are moving, but only slowly and it’s going to take a long time, because men are still in charge of the film studios. Today, we need women to take over, and to choose the stories they want to tell - and how they want to tell them.”
She also underlined the role that actresses can play in making this change happen, saying: “If you have a talent for this profession, and if you look deeply inside yourself, you will have a chance to move things forward.”
Fonda finished her talk by sharing her worries, and stressing the need to work collectively for change. “Of course I’m worried. Aren’t you? We should all be worried! … [Even so] I have the feeling today that the world is "woke". Marches are being organized everywhere to bring about change, together.”
Afterward, the evening continued with a showing of Klute, the film that signaled the start of her commitment to feminism, and for which she won a Golden Globe® and an Oscar® as Best Actress.
Until November 5, filmgoers will have the chance to discover a selection of 24 films depicting the fascinating evolution of this extraordinary actress.