Cannes director defends festival after Adèle Haenel slams French film industry’s #MeToo response

CANNES, France (AP) — After certainly one of France’s prime actors, Adèle Haenel, introduced she was quitting a French movie business that she denounced for “complacency toward sexual aggressors,” Cannes Film Festival chief Thierry Fremaux rejected her criticisms whereas addressing members of the media Monday.

Haenel, star of the 2019 Cannes entry “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” final week revealed an open letter within the Telerama journal during which the 34-year-old stated Cannes and different pillars of the French movie business are “ready to do anything to defend their rapist chiefs.”

Fremaux strongly disagreed whereas talking to journalists earlier than the competition kicks off Tuesday with the premiere of Maïwenn’s historic drama “Jeanne du Barry,” starring Johnny Depp.

“No doubt for somewhat radical reasons, she had to make this comment about Cannes, which was obviously false,” stated Fremaux.

In 2019, Haenel accused French director Christophe Ruggia of sexually harassing her for years starting from the age of 12. Ruggia has denied it. Since then, Haenel has usually vocally protested what she’s referred to as an inadequate response sexual abuse in French filmmaking. At the César Awards in 2020, she walked out of the ceremony after Roman Polanski gained greatest director.

In his remarks, Fremaux solely particularly addressed Haenel’s criticism of Cannes. When she got here to the competition with Celine Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” he stated: “She didn’t think that when she came to Cannes unless she suffered from a crazy dissonance.

“The proof is that if you believed it, you would not be here, listening to me now, taking your accreditations and complaining about the press screenings for a festival of rapists,” Fremaux stated the gathered reporters.

How the #MeToo motion has reverberated in Cannes, one of many world’s oldest and most glamorous movie festivals, has been a topic of debate. Harvey Weinstein was for years a distinguished presence in Cannes, and a number of the incidents of sexual abuse alleged in opposition to the producer occurred through the competition.

Cannes additionally has historically had a low fee of feminine filmmakers in its prestigious competitors lineup, the place solely two feminine administrators have gained the Palme d’Or: Jane Campion in 1993 with “The Piano” and Julia Ducournau in 2021 with “Titane.” In 2018, 82 ladies led a protest on the Cannes crimson carpet. The following yr, Fremaux bowing to strain, signed a pledge promising to attempt towards larger gender parity.

Fremaux acknowledged that the competition as soon as had an issue in gender inclusivity. “Maybe I was clumsy,” he stated. This yr, there are a report seven movies directed by ladies out of the 21 films in competitors, which he stated displays the rising prominence of feminine filmmakers all over the world.

Now, he added, “when we hesitate between a film made by a man or a film made by a women, we’ll select the film made by the woman. But only when we hesitate.

“This all denotes progress,” stated Fremaux.

At the identical time, Cannes has generally been accused of being too welcoming to a number of the males who’ve been accused of misconduct. Polanski returned to the competition in 2017. This yr, some had been anticipating Woody Allen’s newest movie to premiere in Cannes but it surely didn’t make the lineup. Asked about it, Fremaux stated he would solely handle movies within the choice.

Fremaux was, although, questioned concerning the choice of “Jeanne du Barry” because the opening evening movie. The movie, which co-stars Maïwenn, is Depp’s first since his high-profile trial with Amber Heard, his ex-wife. After each Depp and Heard accused one another of bodily and verbal abuse, a civil jury awarded Depp $10 million in damages and $2 million to Heard. In December, they reached a settlement.

“To tell you the truth, in my life, I only have one rule, it’s the freedom of thinking, the freedom of speech and the freedom to act within a legal framework,” stated Fremaux. “If Johnny Depp had been banned from acting in a film, or the film was banned we wouldn’t be here talking about it.”


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