Women direct men better than men themselves, Sir Ben Kingsley has said.
The Hollywood star said that his experience of women directors is that they have been better than their male colleagues at helping actors to portray men's vulnerability.
Speaking to The Observer, he praised his latest collaborator, Spanish director Isabel Coixet, as having a "lens" to see things male directors "might be in denial about".
Despite having only worked with four women directors in his long film career, Sir Ben said there were few male directors who could capture this sensitivity.
He said: "I do feel that it is through the prism, the lens, the perspective of the female eye - the loving female eye - that a man is almost given permission to be vulnerable.
"I'm sorry to say that I've only worked with possibly four female directors. If you look at my CV, I've done a lot of movies, so that's a terrible imbalance.
"The ladies I have worked with have an extraordinary ability to put (male vulnerability) on screen.
"There's only one male director - possibly two - who really gets this and understands its value as a currency, as a character trait, as something that has its place in our humanity and must always have."
The veteran actor said his finest hour with the Royal Shakespeare Company was his performance as Hamlet - which was also directed by a woman.
In May a report commissioned by Directors UK found that just 13.6% of working film directors in the UK are women.
Sir Ben called for the film industry to make "broader choices" and said he no longer wanted to see women held back.
He was speaking ahead of the release of his latest film, Learning To Drive, which is by three women: Coixet in the director's chair, producer Dana Friedman and writer Sarah Kernochan.