Roman Polanski's J'accuse tops French box office as France's directors guild proposes his suspension
Roman Polanski has been a fugitive from the US over four decades since pleading guilty to a sex offense with a minor.
Roman Polanski, a fugitive from the US for more than four decades since pleading guilty to a sex offense with a minor, recently released his new directorial J'accuse (An Officer and a Spy). France's CBO Box Office recorded 400,000 people watching it in its opening week, despite protests outside cinemas and a boycott from feminists, according to Al Jazeera.
The New York Times mentions that on 18 November (Monday) France's directors guild, ARP, moved to suspend any member who is being investigated for or is convicted of sexual assault. The motion will be voted for in the next general assembly, for which a date has not been set yet. "The ARP strongly supports all victims of violence and today decided to make a strong commitment to support the fight for the rights of victims - including sexual assault," said a notice on the guild's website.
Polanski was previously booted from Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, along with comic Bill Cosby, as a result of the organisation's Standards of Conduct enacted post the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal. Following this, Polanski sued The Academy to get back his membership.
At a conference on 14 November, Delphine Ernotte, the chief executive of France Télévisions, who bankrolled J'accuse expressed regret on the decision, calling it an "error of judgement." Several filmgoers, whom NYT spoke to said they hesitated before choosing to watch J'accuse.
Polanski was recently accused of raping a French woman Valentine Monnier in 1975 at the filmmaker's chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland, when she was 18. Monnier said publicity surrounding J'accuse revived the “traumatic memory” of her encounter with Polanski, in particular what she claims was a comparison the filmmaker made in one interview of the relentless pursuit of Dreyfus to what he has been subjected to over the American case.
J'accuse had its premiere at the Venice Film Festival 2019, where it was selected to compete for the coveted Golden Lion award. The film is about the persecution of the French Jewish army officer, Alfred Dreyfus. The film stars Louis Garrel, Jean Dujardin, Emmanuelle Seigner Grégory Gadebois, Mathieu Amalric, Damien Bonnard, Melvil Poupad, Denis Podalydès and Vincent Grass.
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