Polanski wins Cesar Award for best director, prompting walkout protest

29 Février, 2020, 05:25 | Auteur: Christine Menetries
  • Protesters denounce Polanski outside France's César ceremony

French cinema is gearing up for a watershed moment on Friday when "An Officer and a Spy", the latest movie from Roman Polanski, competes for 12 César awards.

Polanski, whose film won a total of three awards, did not attend the event, saying he feared for his safety.

Among those who left the Pleynel concert hall early was leading actress Adele Haenel, who a year ago said she had been sexually abused as a child by another director.

Polanski's film won two other awards for best costume design and best adaptation. And while Foresti did a solid job of running the proceedings, it is entirely welcome that the overseeing board has resigned with a move to overhaul the org ahead.

The entire male-dominated leadership of the Cesars stepped down recently amid a spat over its byzantine decision-making structure and over how to deal with the Polanski problem.

A few hundred protesters brandishing signs with phrases such as "Victims, we believe you" and "No to impunity" assembled outside the Salle Pleyel hall before the ceremony started.

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Polanski fled the United States after pleading guilty in 1977 to having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles. The group chanted, "We are here, we are here, even if Polanski doesn't want to, we are here".

Last year, a Frenchwoman came forward to accuse Polanski of raping her in 1975 in his Swiss chalet when she was 18.

Polanski, 86, has denied the accusation.

In a statement this week, the Paris-based Polanski said the ceremony was turning into a "public lynching" and that he decided not to attend the ceremony to protect his colleagues and his wife and children.

The Polish-French director fled the U.S. after his rape conviction in the 1970s. It is among the best film nominees.

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