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French Actors Accuse Filmmakers Of Sexual And Physical Abuse In New Wave Of Me Too Ahead Of Cesar Awards

The revelation comes as French cinema prepares for potential success at the upcoming Oscars, particularly with Justine Triet’s acclaimed courtroom drama Anatomy of a Fall.

Aanchal Sharma

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French Actors Accuse Filmmakers Of Sexual And Physical Abuse In New Wave Of Me Too Ahead Of Cesar Awards
French actor Adele Haenel poses at the Cesar award ceremony. (Image: AP)

AMID the spotlight on French cinema’s Cedar Awards, which are considered as France’s equivalent to the Academy Awards, actors are coming forward with allegations of sexual and physical abuse they endured as teenagers at the hands of directors much older than them, exposing the dark underbelly of the industry. The next significant move in the #MeToo movement might unfold at the French cinema awards ceremony this Friday.

Reports from French media suggest that Judith Godrèche will address sexual violence at the Cesar Awards, France’s equivalent of the Oscars, during the live television broadcast, The Associated Press reported. Godrèche has already made waves with recent interviews, bravely speaking out against the culture of silence within the industry.

This revelation comes as French cinema prepares for potential success at the upcoming Oscars, particularly with Justine Triet’s acclaimed courtroom drama Anatomy of a Fall.

Godrèche, a prominent figure in French cinema, recently filed a formal complaint accusing two directors of rape and sexual abuse during her adolescence. Benoît Jacquot, a well-known director in France, is alleged to have engaged in a six-year relationship with Godrèche beginning when she was just 14, involving rape and physical abuse.

Another director, Jacques Doillon, stands accused of sexual abuse during the filming of a movie when she was 15, despite being 28 years her senior. Both directors have denied the allegations.

Godrèche has recounted her experiences, describing a relationship marked by violence, coercion, and control. She revealed that she felt manipulated and trapped in a situation akin to joining a cult.

Previously, Godrèche had hinted at her experiences in an autobiographical TV show titled “Icon of French Cinema.” She was also among the voices condemning Harvey Weinstein during the #MeToo movement, accusing him of sexual assault when she was 24.

Jacquot, responding to the accusations, expressed his disbelief, stating that he was in love with Godrèche at the time and denying any abuse of power. Doillon similarly denied the allegations, decrying what he sees as baseless accusations and falsehoods.

In the wake of Godrèche’s courage, other women have stepped forward with their own stories. Isild Le Besco recounted experiences of psychological and physical abuse in a relationship with Jacquot that began when she was 16, while Anna Mouglalis accused Doillon of sexual assault in 2011.

The French film industry has previously grappled with allegations of sexual misconduct, including accusations against actor Gérard Depardieu. In 2020, protests erupted during the Cesar Awards ceremony as Roman Polanski was awarded the best director accolade in absentia, reigniting debates about accountability and justice within the industry.

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