Does Polanski’s César award highlight a deep problem in French society?

The elite world of French cinema is divided over the 45th César Awards ceremony, the French equivalent of the Oscars. A movie by the controversial and divisive Franco-Polish filmmaker Roman Polanski won three awards, including the coveted Best Director prize. This was a bitter pill to swallow for many, including feminist groups who had called for a boycott of the ceremony. The incident once again ignited a fierce debate about the question of “separating the man from the artist”. Does this episode highlight a deep-rooted problem in French society? And are things slowly starting to change?

Source: Does Polanski’s César award highlight a deep problem in French society? – French connections

Polanski’s ‘Oscar’ divides elite world of French cinema

 

The elite world of French cinema, one of the pillars of the country’s exception culturelle, was bitterly divided after Roman Polanski was named best director at France’s equivalent of the Oscars.Several actresses walked out on Friday night as the César was awarded to the Franco-Polish director who is still wanted in the United States after he admitted the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl.The award was viewed as provocative and a slap in the face for sexual abuse victims and #MeToo campaigners who have struggled to gain recognition in France. Outside the ceremony, feminists clashed with police. Polanski, 86, had stayed away, saying he feared a “feminist lynching”.On Saturday, Ursula Le Menn, an activist with Osez le Féminisme (“Dare to be feminist”), the group that organised the protest outside the ceremony, said the award showed that nothing had changed in the world of French cinema. “The empathy shown is a facade …. There is no real change of mentality,” she said.

Polanski’s film, J’Accuse (An Officer and a Spy), about the Dreyfus affair, was nominated for 12 Césars, and won two others – for best adaptation and best costume design. But it was the decision to name him best director that caused the most outrage.

“Polanski has presented himself like Dreyfus, a victim, and used his film for his own defence. For women who have had the courage to speak out about the abuse they suffered, there is an enormous pain seeing this man distinguished,” said Le Menn.

“We ask women to come forward and speak out and they see not only are there no consequences for their aggressors, but those same aggressors are honoured in this way.”

Actress Adèle Haenel, who last year revealed she had been sexually abused as a child by another director, shouted “Shame!” as she left the awards. Others followed, including the director Céline Sciamma. The ceremony’s host, Florence Foresti, also failed to return to close the event. On her Twitter account Foresti said she was “disgusted”.

Alexis Poulin, a French journalist and co-founder of an online media site, said many in France felt the same way. “A lot of people in France are disgusted this morning. What happened yesterday was wrong and I have been saying this for ever. I think it’s unfair Polanski is given all these honours,” he said.

“Giving Polanski a prize was quite a statement. The film is something a lot of people work on, not just him. Giving him the prize protects him – it says you cannot reach him and the French cinema elite will stick together: it’s like a cinema mob and he’s the godfather.

“It says to the victims, ‘we don’t want to hear you, you are nothing, we don’t trust you’,” Poulin added.

J’Accuse recounts the persecution of the French Jewish army officer Alfred Dreyfus in the 1890s, convicted of trumped-up charges of treason. In an interview to promote the film, Polanski admitted he saw himself like Dreyfus: “I am familiar with many of the workings of the apparatus of persecution shown in the film… I can see the same determination to deny the facts and condemn me for things I have not done. Most of the people who harass me do not know me and know nothing about the case.”

Poulin said the award had revealed a deep problem in French society. “Polanski fled and found refuge in France. In France, we accept rapists on the run because they’re artists. It’s a problem of French society.”

Polanski admitted the statutory rape of 13-year-old Samantha Gailey in 1977 after more serious charges were dropped in a plea bargain. While awaiting sentencing, he fled the US. France has refused to extradite him.

Since then, a number of other sexual abuse allegations have been made against the director, who became famous with his film Rosemary’s Baby. The most recent was last November when a French photographer, Valentine Monnier, accused Polanski of raping her in 1975, when she was 18, at his chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland. Polanski has denied all the allegations.

He received backing on Saturday from the philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, who tweeted: “That the #Cesars waited until #Polanski was absent and could not respond, to mock him, humiliate him, overplay disgust and go so far as to refuse to pronounce his name, that says a lot about where the real “Miserables” were last night.”

Source: Polanski’s ‘Oscar’ divides elite world of French cinema | Film | The Guardian

Violence against women: tens of thousands of people in the street, “a historic mobilization”

March against violence against women took place everywhere in France this Saturday. They brought together tens of thousands of people in Paris and in about thirty cities. The collective #NousToutes welcomes a historic mobilization.

The collective #NousToutes greets ” the biggest march in the history of France ” against gender-based violence. Tens of thousands of people marched this Saturday in Paris and in thirty cities in France to denounce violence against women and too many feminicides since the beginning of the year. 

Thirty or so organized marches brought together 150,000 people, according to the feminist collective #NousToutes, including 100,000 in Paris . The Occurrence cabinet counted 49,000 protesters in the capital during its count for a media collective.  Continue reading “Violence against women: tens of thousands of people in the street, “a historic mobilization””

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Actress Adele Haenel accuses Manager of sexual harassment as #metoo Strikes French cinema

French actress Adele Haenel has accused a manager of raping her when she was a teen working on her very first feature film. Haenel, today 30, maintained in a meeting with French press outlet Mediap…

French actress Adele Haenel has accused a manager of raping her when she was a teen working on her very first feature film.

Haenel, today 30, maintained in a meeting with French press outlet Mediapart on Monday she had become the goal of”permanent sexual harassment” from director Christophe Ruggia if both worked with her debut film, The Devils, once she was 12 to 15.

She stated he forcefully kissed her neck and could touch her on the thighs and chest.

The celebrity, who has won two César awards — the French equivalent of the Oscars — included that she wouldn’t make an official complaint to the authorities but that she’d determined to come forward if she’d learned that Ruggia was likely a new film with teens.

She enticed the French judiciary method of not being intense enough on sexual abusers.

The French Society of Directors has provided its service to the celebrity and voiced its”respect and fame” at a statement issued on Monday. Additionally, it has expelled Ruggia.

Asked about the event on Wednesday, the French Minister for Justice Nicole Belloubet, stated that Haenel was incorrect to discredit the machine and encouraged her to submit a complaint.

Source: Actress Adele Haenel accuses Manager of sexual harassment as #metoo Strikes French cinema |

Let’s talk about sex: New book sheds light on French sexual mores

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France has a certain reputation when it comes to sex. Yet believe it or not, the French have become even less inhibited in recent years.A new book entitled “Love and Sexual Behaviour in France” (La Vie Sexuelle en France) by Janine Mossuz-Lavau, an emeritus research director with the National Centre for Scientific Research, illustrates how attitudes have shifted in France by interviewing 65 men and women of various ages, socioeconomic backgrounds and sexual tendencies from across the country.It is a follow-up to Mossuz-Lavau’s first book on the subject, which was based on a similar study back in 2000.“I wanted to see how things had evolved in the last 17 years,” she told FRANCE 24.

Already reputed to be one of the most sexually liberated countries in the world, Mossuz-Lavau found that behaviour in France is now less inhibited than it was nearly two decades ago.

“Sexual behaviour has changed. I can’t be 100 percent certain, because even if I’ve spent hours talking with my subjects, I’m not in their bedrooms. But yes, it would appear they are more liberated in their behaviour,” she said.

Mossuz-Lavau said acts that were previously frowned upon in France, such as fellatio, have been largely normalised. She attributed this to the fact that people are more comfortable discussing the subject than they were before.

“There’s also a big shift in how people talk about [sex]French people are much more open to discussing [it]. Seventeen years ago, I had to ask specific questions. But now people bring things up freely,” she said.

For Mossuz-Lavau – who conducted her study between January and November 2017 – this newfound freedom of expression is, in part, linked to the global #MeToo movement, which sparked widespread debate over sexual behaviour by encouraging victims of abuse to speak out.

Already reputed to be one of the most sexually liberated countries in the world, Mossuz-Lavau found that behaviour in France is now less inhibited than it was nearly two decades ago.

“Sexual behaviour has changed. I can’t be 100 percent certain, because even if I’ve spent hours talking with my subjects, I’m not in their bedrooms. But yes, it would appear they are more liberated in their behaviour,” she said.

Mossuz-Lavau said acts that were previously frowned upon in France, such as fellatio, have been largely normalised. She attributed this to the fact that people are more comfortable discussing the subject than they were before.

“There’s also a big shift in how people talk about [sex]French people are much more open to discussing [it]. Seventeen years ago, I had to ask specific questions. But now people bring things up freely,” she said.

For Mossuz-Lavau – who conducted her study between January and November 2017 – this newfound freedom of expression is, in part, linked to the global #MeToo movement, which sparked widespread debate over sexual behaviour by encouraging victims of abuse to speak out.

No sex: The ‘last taboo’

Yet if there’s one thing people still aren’t comfortable talking about, it’s the absence of sex in a relationship.

“It’s what I call the ‘last taboo’ in my book: couples who have been together for a long time, who may even spend their lives together – young and old – who stop having sex. It’s very common, but we never hear anything about it,” said Mossuz-Lavau.

In writing “Love and Sexual Behaviour in France”, Mossuz-Lavau sought to make her book as human as possible, forgoing scientific references for cultural ones drawn from popular literature, music and film.

She sets the tone in the introduction by quoting French philosopher Ruwen Ogien: “I am not offering an original definition of love. I leave the creative reader to find one that can satisfy everyone. But … it would be a bad idea to try.”

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Continue at FRANCE 24: Let’s talk about sex: New book sheds light on French sexual mores – France 24