Cannes Head Thierry Frémaux Responds To Adèle Haenel’s Criticism Of Festival As A Safe Place For Sexual Predators: “It’s False, Erroneous”; Chief Also Talks Johnny Depp Opener ‘Jeanne Du Barry’May 16, 2023
Cannes Film Festival Thierry Frémaux has responded to French actress Adèle Haenel’s suggestion that Cannes is part of a French eco-system that turns a blind eye to sexual violence.
The actress made the comments in an open letter in weekly TV magazine Télérama last week, in which she announced she was leaving the film industry because of its “general complacency” towards sexual predators.
The letter has stoked debate in the local film industry with some professionals getting behind her move, while others say they do not recognise the French cinema world in her comments.
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Frémaux said her comments on Cannes were clearly “false.”
“I can only comment about what she said about Cannes, by saying that I suppose to be radical, she felt obliged to make this comment on Cannes, but it’s false, erroneous,” he said.
“She didn’t think that way when she came to the festival as an actress, at least I hope she was not in some sort of mad contradiction,” he said, referring to Haenel’s participation in the festival’s Official Selection with A Portrait of Lady On Fire and BPM.
“Cannes is an event with a strong media echo and people use Cannes to talk about certain problems. I find that normal. It doesn’t bother me. Cannes can be interpreted in different ways and given different identities, which don’t reflect reality.”
“A lot of people talk about Cannes and have never been. All I can say is, it’s not true and the proof is that if you believed it, you would not be here, listening to me now, taking your accreditations and complaining about the press screenings for a festival of rapists.”
Frémaux also responded to a question from a reporter suggesting that choosing Johnny Depp-starrer Jeanne du Barry as the opening film was problematic in some quarters of the U.S. media and industry.
“I don’t know the image of Johnny Depp in the United States,” Frémaux told journalists at his traditional pre-opening press conference ahead of the 76th edition, running from May 16 to 27
The famously independently-minded festival director said he believed strongly in the freedom to think, to speak and to act.
“He is extraordinary in the film in a role which is difficult. I don’t why he was cast. You will have to ask Maïwenn her reasons for choosing him,” he said.
“For the rest, I’m the last person to talk to about this because if there is one person in the world who is not interested in this very mediatized process, it’s me. I am interested in Johnny Depp as an actor.”
Jeanne du Barry, in which Depp plays Louis XV in a French-speaking role, is being billed as the actor’s big screen comeback.
It is his first role in three years after the actor said he was shut out of Hollywood, while battling ex-wife Amber Heard in the courts following the public breakdown of their marriage, winning a defamation trial against her last summer.
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