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‘I’m a feminist,’ says Affleck, who plays macho count in festival film

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Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez at the 78th Venice International Film Festival. Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez at the 78th Venice International Film Festival. Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez at the 78th Venice International Film Festival. Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Actors and close friends Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are reunited in The Last Duel, a drama about the rape of a noblewoman in medieval France directed by Ridley Scott that premiered at the Venice Film Festival yesterday.

The film tells the true story of the last lawful duel in 14th century France, when two knights squared off to determine the veracity of the woman’s claim she was raped.

Part of the movie was shot in Ireland last year, when Damon and his family spent the first lockdown in Dalkey, Co Dublin, famously enjoying the local swimming spots.

Damon stars as the woman’s husband Jean de Carrouges, fighting to avenge her and restore his family’s honour by challenging his old friend-turned-rival Jacques Le Gris, played by Adam Driver.

The movie had paparazzi scrambling for a snapshot of red carpet glamour as Affleck arrived in Venice flanked by singer Jennifer Lopez, in their first outing at an official event since they recently rekindled their romance after 20 years.

“Yes, I do consider myself a feminist,” Affleck, who in the film plays an all-powerful, macho count, told a press conference after a screening.

He said there were residual aspects of how in the Middle Ages women were treated not as human beings but as men’s property “in the disproportionate power that men have in society” today.

The film is divided in three chapters, each one written from the three protagonists’ perspectives. It was co-written by Affleck and Damon, their first time writing together since Good Will Hunting, with the woman’s point of view written by Nicole Holofcener.

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