A young actress has lodged a complaint for rape against French film director Luc Besson, judicial sources said on Saturday, the latest in a string of sexual abuse allegations in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
The filmmaker’s lawyer Thierry Marembert said he categorically denied the claims calling them “fantasist accusations”, adding that the complainant was someone he knew “towards whom he has never behaved inappropriately”. Police in Paris opened an investigation after the actress accused the 59-year-old “The Big Blue”, “Nikita” and “Leon” director of raping her, the judicial sources said. A “complaint has been made for acts qualifying as rape by the plaintiff which happened Thursday night into Friday in Paris,” they said, adding that police were investigating. News of the allegation emerged shortly before the closing ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival which was marked this year by an emotional speech by a Weinstein accuser.
Italian star Asia Argento, who has said she was raped by the Hollywood mogul at Cannes in 1997, told the ceremony he would never be welcome at the event again. “This festival was his hunting ground,” said Argento, who says she was 21 when Weinstein attacked her in his hotel room. Sources said Besson’s accuser went to police on Friday to file a complaint against Besson after the alleged assault at the Bristol hotel in the French capital.
The complainant said she had been in a relationship with him for around two years, stating she felt pressured into being intimate with him for professional reasons. One source close to the investigation said Besson was out of the country and had not been questioned. According to Europe 1 radio, which broke the story, Besson’s accuser said she had “drunk a cup of tea, then felt unwell and lost consciousness”.
The station quoted her as saying that when she came round she remembered being sexually assaulted. Giant of French cinema Besson, who is married to a film producer, has three children with his wife and two more from previous relationships. He has been married four times, including to US actress Milla Jovovich.
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Isabelle Huppert as a clumsy teacher, Romain Duris as headmaster
[Google Translation / CULTUREBOX]
This crazy movie far from realism, is the opportunity for a new meeting between Isabelle Huppert and Serge Bozon. The star, awarded in 2017 by a Golden Globe and a César for her role in “Elle” Paul Verhoeven, had already shot under the direction of the director five years ago in the highly unclassifiable “Tip Top”, in which she embodied an inspector of police with Sandrine Kiberlain.
This time, the French actress is Madame Géquil, bad teacher unsure of her in a suburban high school to the colorful headmaster (Romain Duris), married to a homemaker (José Garcia). One day, struck down during an experiment in her laboratory, she will feel a new energy in her, which will allow her to finally transmit her knowledge to her students, and especially to one of them.
“A film about education and the transmission of knowledge”, according to Bozon
The idea of the film, which transposes Stevenson’s book into the feminine and into the world of school, was first born in the spirit of the co-writer of the film Axelle Ropert. “What seemed interesting to me was the film about education whose heroine is a teacher in check, and failed since the beginning of his career,” said Serge Bozon.
“We needed the fantastic to get it to something other than its eternal failure”, adds the director, for whom “the film is perhaps at the crossroads of different genres, but at the same time it is finally very focused on a only one question, that of education “and the transmission of knowledge.
The actress as we see it rarely, as a fearful woman
The 45-year-old director also said he found “interesting to look at Isabelle Huppert a dimension she had never explored”. “She usually plays strong, assertive characters, which goes with the question of authority, of violence.There is the opposite: she plays a very weak character at first, completely cowardly, fearful, who lives in the shadow of his permanent failure, “he analyzes.
The fantasy of the film, far from all realism and with stylized characters and outraged, also allows him to be “more frontal”, he analyzes. “The refusal of realism for me, it is what allows to go to the essential”.
Source: Isabelle Huppert, teacher transformed into “Madame Hyde”, inspired by Stevenson
The Dinard Festival of British Film may not be France’s most prestigious movie destination, but it’s a great place to watch some indie films and rub shoulders with up-and-coming British acting talent.
Source: When France goes Brit-mad: Dinard Film Festival – Flux Magazine