Matt Damon's 'Downsizing' wins praise at Venice premiere

A woman tries on earphones and a headset used for virtual reality at the Venice Virtual Reality a competition during 74th Venice Film Festival in Venice

Space drama "Gravity", clergy sex-abuse film "Spotlight" and last year's musical "La La Land" secured Oscars after featuring in Venice.

Festival director Alberto Barbera has defended the festival's selections this year, saying the industry remains "very sexist" and there simply are not enough female directors.

Jury member Rebecca Hall, president Annette Bening, and members Anna Mouglalis and Jasmine Trinca at the 74th Venice Film Festival. As executive director of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, Martha Lauzen, so eloquently put it: 'Making room for gender diversity or diversity of all kinds does not also require the lowering of one's standards'.

Sure, the festival will hardly be lacking in great films-Darren Aronofsky's Mother! "I think the direction we're going is positive". "I'm sorry that there are very few films from women this year, but we are not producing films".

A woman tries on earphones and a headset used for virtual reality at the Venice Virtual Reality a competition during 74th Venice Film Festival in Venice

Barbera told The Associated Press that he didn't like the idea of setting a quota for female-directed films "because it doesn't help them and it doesn't help the films". However, it seems she's starting to embrace the embellishments and patterns again as she appeared in a playful lipstick-print mini Valentino Resort dress earlier in the day for her film's photo call.

"I was thrilled to be asked to be here, so I didn't count the number of films that were accepted that were directed by women", said Bening.

Payne's latest film, Downsizing, follows Matt Damon's Paul Safranek and Kristin Wiig's Audrey Safranek as they attempt to lessen their environmental impact (and increase their spending power) by shrinking themselves down to size. "So no, I didn't approach it that way", she added.

"I know that most people that I know, whether they're veterans or newcomers, or they're men or women, most people struggle to get their movies made", she said. [But] to go to the root of the problem, if more women were encouraged to work in film and had the opportunity to take on major creative roles, I'm sure we will see more and more films by women'.

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