The decision seemed inevitable: Roman Polanski, who has been the subject of a new rape accusation since November, announced that he would not attend the 45th Caesar ceremony on Friday, where feminists planned to protest the 12 nominations for his film ” I accuse”.
“For several days, I have been asked this question: will I come or will I not come to the Cesar ceremony. The question I ask is rather the following: how could I?” Asked the filmmaker in a text transmitted to AFP, affirming that “activists are already threatening him with a public lynching”.
“It promises to look more like a symposium than a film festival supposed to reward its greatest talents,” he continues.
Explaining in particular that he must “protect his family, his wife and his children, who are subjected to insults and affronts”, he affirms that it is “with regret that he makes this decision, that of not facing a court of self-proclaimed opinion ready to trample on the principles of the rule of law so that the irrational triumphs again without sharing. “
This decision comes as the 45th Cesar ceremony promises to be held under tension, after the resignation of the management of the Academy, accused of opacity and self-esteem, and while feminists have called to demonstrate against Polanski.
– “counter-ceremony” –
Arriving at the head of the nominations with the film of Ladj Ly on the suburbs “Les Miserables” – big favorite with 12 nominations also, including that of the price of the public -, the historical thriller of Roman Polanski on the Dreyfus Affair with Jean Dujardin will be on the front of the stage for the annual awards of French cinema.
Indignant, several associations called to protest Friday at 6 p.m. in front of the Salle Pleyel, where the ceremony will be held from 9 p.m.
The feminist collective #NousToutes announced in particular that it would organize a “counter-ceremony” during which it will award filmmakers “other prizes – less glorious”.
Feminist activists also pasted posters from Tuesday to Wednesday in front of the Salle Pleyel and the headquarters of the Academie des Cesar in Paris to denounce Polanski.
Named in the best actress category, actress Adele Haenel who accused director Christophe Ruggia in November of “repeated touching” when she was a teenager, estimated Monday in the New York Times that “to distinguish Polanski is to spit at face of all victims. “
As part of public opinion, feminists no longer accept that the French-Polish filmmaker receives honors, while he has been targeted since November by a new accusation of rape by photographer Valentine Monnier, who s adds to those of other women in recent years.
The 86-year-old director is also still being sued by the American justice system for illegal sex in 1977 with a minor.
– Caesar reform –
The Cesars had already been, in 2017, at the heart of a controversy concerning the director of “The Pianist”, when he had to give up presiding over the ceremony, for similar reasons.
If the controversy concerning him is not new, it took on a new scale in November after the publication of the testimony of Valentine Monnier, a few days before the release of “J’accuse”.
The film then had an eventful release in France, feminists having blocked screenings and called for a boycott. “J’accuse”, however, attracted more than 1.5 million spectators in theaters.
The mobilization was then reinforced after the announcement of the Cesar appointments at the end of January, feminists immediately calling for a rally the evening of the ceremony.
The Caesars will also take place in an unprecedented climate this year due to the serious operating crisis that has shaken them in recent weeks, leading in mid-February to the resignation en bloc to the management of the Academy, chaired since 2003 by Alain Terzian.
An acting president of the Cesars, Margaret Menegoz, was appointed on Wednesday, and an extraordinary general assembly will be held on April 20 to adopt new statutes, which will notably allow guaranteeing more democracy, diversity, and parity in the Academy.