French movie awards overshadowed by underage sex abuse allegations

February 24, 2024 4:53 pm

[Source: Reuters]

France’s annual movie awards ceremony took a somber turn Friday with a standing ovation for actress Judith Godreche who spoke out against sexual violence in the film industry.

“Why accept that this art that we love so much, this art that unites us, be used as a cover for illicit trafficking of young women?” Godreche told the 49th Cesar Awards ceremony.

“I think we are really seeing the French #MeToo now — it took us some time and we’re going through it now,” said French director Justine Triet, whose film “Anatomy of a Fall” won several awards including best movie, best director and best actress.

Article continues after advertisement

Police opened an investigation earlier this month after Godreche filed a complaint for sexual violence against French film director Benoit Jacquot, 77, with whom she had a relationship in the late 1980s when she was a minor.

Reuters could not reach Jacquot for comment. He has told Le Monde newspaper his first sexual relationship with Godreche happened after her 15th birthday, the legal age of consent in France. Godreche told French media she was 14.

In his interview with Le Monde, Jacquot, who is 25 years older than Godreche, denied any violence towards her.

Leftist union CGT Spectacle held a protest outside the Cesar venue.

“Judith Godreche has had the courage to talk about her story … about the sexual violence so many women have suffered in a professional environment,” CGT said.

Culture Minister Rachida Dati – one of the first in the audience to stand after Godreche’s remarks – said this week that the French film industry was only now becoming aware of “collective blindness that lasted for years” regarding sexual violence in French cinema.