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Denis Villeneuve Responds to Criticism of ‘Blade Runner 2049’s Female Characters: ‘The World Is Not Kind on Women’

He says he tries to be "very sensitive" in his portrayal of women.

Blade Runner 2049

“Blade Runner 2049”

Warner Bros.

Disappointing box-office numbers notwithstanding, “Blade Runner 2049” is among the most well-received films of the year. One aspect of Denis Villeneuve’s long-awaited sequel that hasn’t earned widespread praise, however, is its portrayal of women — a critique the director has responded to by saying that “cinema is a mirror on society.”

“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,” he says in a Vanity Fair interview. Among those are “Arrival,” which stars Amy Adams, and “Sicario,” with Emily Blunt in the lead.

“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.”

Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford star in “Blade Runner 2049,” with Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, and Carla Juri among the supporting cast.

“What is cinema?” Villeneuve continued. “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.” He also adds that his film is a “dystopian vision of today” that “magnifies all the faults. That’s what I’ll say about that.” Read his full interview here.

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