Roman Polanski controversy leads board of Cesar Awards to resign en masse





Posted

February 14, 2020 19:16:19

The management of the “French Oscars” has resigned en masse after weeks of controversy centred on director Roman Polanski, whose latest film leads nominations ahead of the 2020 awards ceremony.

Key points:

  • The resignations follow a backlash against 12 Cesar Awards nominations for An Officer and a Spy
  • Polanksi launched his new film days after a French actress accused him of raping her
  • The resignations come just two weeks before the award ceremony is held

The Cesar Awards, France’s equivalent of the Oscars, features 12 nominations for Polanski’s film An Officer and a Spy.

Feminist groups have decried the nominations and called for a boycott of the film.

Dozens of film industry personalities — including X-Men actor Omar Sy and Berenice Bejo of the 2011 film The Artist — have denounced the academy’s “opaqueness” in an open letter.

In a statement announcing the resignations, the French film academy said: “To honour those who made films in 2019, to regain serenity and make the cinema festival a celebration, the board of directors of the [film academy] made a unanimous decision to resign.”

The resignations come just two weeks before the award ceremony is held.

Polanski launched his new film in France last year just days after a French actress accused him of having raped her in 1975, when she was 18 years old, during a ski holiday in Gstaad, Switzerland.

Eighty-six-year-old Polanski has denied the accusation.

The Chinatown and Rosemary’s Baby director fled the United States for France in 1977 after pleading guilty to having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl.

Polanski feared his deal with prosecutors would be overruled and he would get a lengthy prison term.

Attempts to have the French-Polish director extradited from Poland to the US have failed.

He was expelled from the United States Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2018 following a new code of conduct adopted by the academy in response to allegations of sexual assault and misconduct raised by the #MeToo movement.

An Officer and a Spy is the story of Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish French officer unfairly accused of spying for Germany in the 1890s.

Polanski won a best director Academy Award for his 2002 film The Pianist.

Reuters/ABC

Topics:

arts-and-entertainment,

film-movies,

france



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