Director Denis Villeneuve Defends Portrayal Of Women In BLADE RUNNER 2049

Director Denis Villeneuve Defends Portrayal Of Women In BLADE RUNNER 2049

Facing criticism of Blade Runner 2049's "world" being too "hostile towards women," director Denis Villeneuve talks about the film's portrayal of females and how it reflects on society as a whole.

For all that Denis Villeneuve did right with Blade Runner 2049, one of the film's biggest criticisms has been its harsh portrayal of women in the quasi-dystopian future. Speaking to Vanity Fair, the director was asked about the film's "world" being "hostile to women."

Warning: Minor spoiler for Blade Runner 2049 below.

"I am very sensitive to how I portray women in movies. This is my ninth feature film and six of them have women in the lead role," Villeneuve, who helmed Amy Adams in Arrival and Emily Blunt in Sicario, defended. "The first Blade Runner was quite rough on the women; something about the film noir aesthetic. But I tried to bring depth to all the characters. For Joi, the holographic character, you see how she evolves. It’s interesting, I think."

Of course, one of the most talked about (and criticized) scenes in the movie involved Ana de Armas' holographic home helper, Joi. In search of feeling human, Joi seeks out an actual sex worker to help engage in a threesome of sorts with Ryan Gosling's character, K. Beyond the use of women as sex worker puppets and home servants beckoning to their owner's demands, the violence in Blade Runner 2049 directed towards women in particular has been a big talking point as well. For Villeneuve, Blade Runner's depiction is just a reflection on the real world.

"What is cinema? Cinema is a mirror on society. Blade Runner is not about tomorrow; it’s about today. And I’m sorry, but the world is not kind on women," the director said candidly.

"There’s a sense in American cinema: you want to portray an ideal world. You want to portray a utopia. That’s good—dreams for a better world, to advocate for something better, yes. But if you look at my movies, they are exploring today’s shadows. The first Blade Runner is the biggest dystopian statement of the last half century. I did the follow-up to that, so yes, it’s a dystopian vision of today. Which magnifies all the faults. That’s what I’ll say about that."

Do you have a problem with Blade Runner 2049's portrayal of women?
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