Jodie Foster makes movies to understand her feelings.

The actress-turned-director is "fascinated" by depression, a subject she explores in new movie 'The Beaver', and says working on films about challenging subjects help her to deal with her own problems better.

She explained: "I think depression is fascinating, there was a lot of depression in my family. Making movies about people in spiritual crises helps me to come to terms with my own spiritual crisis.

"My way of organising my feelings is to make movies out of them and see problems from all points of view."

The former child star also admitted she is only attracted to directing films which she can relate to in some way.

She explained: "In some ways the movies I direct have to be the story of my life. My first, 'Little Man Tate', is about a child Prodigy, and my second, 'Home for the Holidays', was about being in the 30s.

"'The Beaver' is about a middle-aged man. In a way, it's a trilogy."