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#MeToo: Judith Godrèche and hundreds of abuse victims bring their story to Cannes with ‘Moi aussi’

Actress Judith Godrèche, leading figure of the #MeToo movement in France, and hundreds of victims cry out against the silence about abuse in the short film ‘Moi aussi’ (‘Me too’), directed by Godrèche herself and released this Wednesday, 15 May at the Cannes Film Festival. The latest installment of the ‘Mad Max’ franchise, by George Miller, one of the most anticipated feature films, was also presented on the day.

A day after celebrating the female icons of cinema in an emotional opening ceremony, the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival moved forward this Wednesday with a master class by Meryl Streep and a first series of films starring women.

The Hollywood star, who received an honorary Palme d’Or on Tuesday, told intimate anecdotes about her career and spoke of the considerable progress made by women in the film industry in her meeting with festival attendees.

“The biggest stars in the world today are women,” she declared, stressing that the reason her early roles had such an impact was “because she was the only woman” in those films.

The race for the Palme d’Or began later with ‘Diamant brut’, by French director Agathe Riedinger, the only debut film in competition, of which only four have been directed by women. The film explores the themes of femininity, obsession with beauty and the role of influencers on social media.

‘Portrait of a Young Woman with a Needle’ (Portrait de La Jeune femme à l’aiguille), by Magnus von Horn, which tells the story of a Danish woman who runs a clandestine adoption agency after the First World War, and the premiere in The red carpet of ‘Furiosa’, the latest installment of George Miller’s ‘Mad Max’ franchise, were the two most anticipated feature films of the day.

A one-armed warrior who sets the world on fire

Forty-five years ago, a dark and nihilistic Australian thriller starring a young Mel Gibson as a revenge-crazed cop caused a sensation at the Cannes film market, paving the way for the famous post-apocalyptic ‘Mad Max’ trilogy.

George Miller relaunched the franchise ten years ago with his fast-paced reboot ‘Fury Road’, in which the hero, Max, was largely overshadowed by the one-armed Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron. His latest work, a prequel to the events of that film, stars Anya Taylor-Joy as a young Furiosa, alongside ‘Thor’ star Chris Hemsworth.

‘Moi aussi’, a paving stone in the puddle of sexual violence

While Miller’s fiery engines roared at the Grand Theater Lumière, another highly anticipated event shook the Croisette, the promenade in Cannes, at the opening of the Un Certain Regard category: the short film ‘Moi Aussi’, by actress and director Judith Godrèche, who in the last year has become the face of the #MeToo movement in France.

A young woman moves in the middle of a crowd. In voice-over, she tells the stories of victims of sexual violence, attacked in their childhood, by her relatives. Her stories intersect in this short film, halfway between a music video and a street performance, filmed with a thousand women and a few men, all of them victims of abuse.

‘Moi aussi’ marks a new stage in Judith Godrèche’s fight to denounce sexual violence against women.

The actress, who has been under the radar for many years, began working on her own personal story, to become aware of her own experience. She before getting behind the camera again in December 2023 with the series ‘Icon of French cinema’, in Arte.

In this six-part autobiographical story, Judith Godrèche plays herself, a movie star who returns to France after a long exile in the United States. The series became a ratings success, provoking an avalanche of reactions. Indeed, behind the capricious atmosphere, the casual tone and the self-mockery of the actress who wants to relaunch her career, the controlling relationship of which she was a victim as a child with a director twice her age is revealed in pieces.

Without naming him, Judith Godrèche blames Benoît Jacquot. At the end of the 80s, the famous director offered her her first important role in the film ‘Les Mendiants’, released in 1988, and then in ‘La Désenchantée’ (1990), which earned her a César nomination for Best New Actress. . In view of the whole world, the young muse then had a relationship with him. A relationship that began when the actress was only 14 years old—Benoît Jacquot was almost 40—and lasted almost six.

Mother and daughter together in a crusade against sexual abuse

Separated from Benoît Jacquot, Judith Godrèche continued her career as a star, taking on one role after another before trying her hand at directing with ‘All the Daughters Cry’ (Toutes les filles pleurent, 2010) and packing her bags for Los Angeles.

Now, he talks about the abuse he suffered in his youth, of which he also accuses another emblematic figure of French cinema, the director Jacques Doillon. In early February, he filed a complaint against the two men for rape of a minor.

A few weeks later, at the 49th César Awards, the actress addressed the film industry. “I have been talking and talking for a long time, but I don’t hear them, or I barely hear them. Where are they?” She asked in a soft voice, asking the film industry not to cover up “the illegal trafficking of girls.”

Become the figure of the #Metoo movement in French cinema, five years after the notorious Weinstein case that shook all of Hollywood, Judith Godrèche explains that she owes this commitment to her daughter.

“It is thanks to the fact that I have a teenage daughter that I am able to realize what has happened to me, to tell myself that I have navigated a world without rules or laws,” the woman explained to Elle magazine in December 2023. who left school at the age of 15 to dedicate himself to acting. “If a 40-year-old man comes near my daughter, I will kill him,” she said.

Her daughter, Tess Barthélemy, only 19 years old, accompanies her in her fight. The young actress and dancer, born from the past relationship between Judith Godrèche and the director Maurice Barthélémy, former member of the Robins des Bois company, also played her own role in the ‘Icon of French cinema’ series.

This is an adaptation of the original in French: Avec “Moi aussi”, Judith Godrèche poursuit son combat au Festival de Cannes

Author: David Rich

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