After Godrèche’s sexual abuse accusations, release of new films by Doillon and Jacquot disrupted

After Godrèche’s sexual abuse accusations, release of new films by Doillon and Jacquot disrupted

Now aged 51, French actress Judith Godrèche has filed complaints against filmmakers Benoît Jacquot (her former partner) and Jacques Doillon for rape of a then 15-year-old minor between 1986 and 1992, accusations both directors deny. Godrèche has since created an email address, [email protected] ([email protected]), accompanied by this message on her Instagram page: “I’m here. Behind this email address (…) Whatever environment you’ve been abused in. Share as much as you can.” In a special broadcast, investigation website Mediapart wondered if we were finally witnessing the #MeToo of French cinema.

Read more Subscribers only ‘It’s the story of a kidnapped child’: Actress Judith Godrèche accuses director Benoît Jacquot of rape

These developments have put the immediate future of the directors’ next films in serious jeopardy: Jacquot’s Beautifulan adaptation of Georges Simenon’s Belle’s Death (1952), starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and Guillaume Canet, is currently in post-production, and Doillon’s CE2a drama about school bullying, starring Nora Hamzawi, Alexis Manenti and comedian Doully, is scheduled for release on March 27. Several press screenings have already taken place for CE2.

“As things stand, producers could be left to bear the consequences of situations for which they are in no way responsible, and which stem from events that may even predate their activity,” said a producer who wishes to remain anonymous. “Once a production company has secured financing for its film, it takes out a loan with a bank or credit institution, discounting the contracts signed by the financiers. Such operations generate bank interest, which has become very significant since the rise in key rates at the end of 2022. Given the amounts involved, which far exceed the equity capital of the companies concerned, it seems clear that most independent production companies may find their survival at risk.”

‘The filmmaker of childhood’

Screened for the first time at the Angoulême Francophone Film Festival on August 25, 2021, CE2 was praised by Brigitte Macron, who is a former teacher and has been involved in the fight against bullying in schools for several years. “I’m extremely moved by it. He [Doillon] has an eye, he knows how to film them [children] extremely well (…). It’s very important to go and see it [the film] if you want to understand certain mechanisms,” she said. CE2 was also mentioned in a debate on “childhood in danger” at the Angoulême court, which augured well for the film’s success among schoolchildren.

Now that the organizers of the Viva il cinema! festival of contemporary Italian cinema in Tours have decided to remove Doillon as jury president for their 10th edition, from February 21 to 25, a number of questions remain unanswered. “We don’t want to make any hasty decisions,” explained the press officer. Yet it’s hard to imagine exhibitors fighting to screen the film, or that the actors involved will be eager to help promote it. “The courts will sort it all out,” said one of the actresses. “All I can say is that, as far as the 8-10 year-olds in CE2 are concerned, Doillon was a real pro at listening, and it was a pleasure to work and talk with him.”

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