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29 Feb, 2020 00:31

French ‘Oscars’ drama: Director and actress leave Cesar Awards ceremony after Polanski’s best director win (VIDEO)

French ‘Oscars’ drama: Director and actress leave Cesar Awards ceremony after Polanski’s best director win (VIDEO)

French director Celine Sciamma and actress Adele Haenel walked out of the Cesar Awards ceremony after Roman Polanski, convicted in the US of statutory rape, won best director award – while their own film was snubbed.

Video from the ceremony shows Haenel getting up from her seat and angrily storming out of the Salle Pleyel in Paris on Friday evening, followed by Sciamma, after Polanski won for ‘An Officer And A Spy’, a film about the 19th-century anti-Semitic Dreyfuss affair.

Sciamma’s ‘Portrait Of A Lady On Fire’, a period romance set in the 18th century and starring Hanael, won only the cinematography prize out of 10 nominations, though it had previously won at Cannes for best screenplay.

Hanael was further snubbed when the best actress award went to Anais Desmoustier for her work in ‘Alice And The Mayor’.

Sciamma has been an outspoken feminist her entire career, while Haenel became a prominent face of France’s #MeToo movement after accusing director Christophe Ruggia of sexually abusing her since she was 12.

Also on rt.com #MeToo setback: French court finds assault accuser guilty of defamation

Polanski did not attend the ceremony himself, saying he feared for his safety and wished to avoid being “lynched.” None of the cast or crew of his film was on hand, either. A sizable crowd, organized by the group Osez le Feminisme, gathered outside the venue to protest that Polanski had even been nominated, in 12 categories no less.

The French-born Polish director pleaded guilty to the statutory rape of a 13-year-old in the US back in 1977, then fled to Europe before his sentencing, to avoid prison time. He was expelled from the US Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in 2018 amid the MeToo furor sparked by accusations against his long-time rival Harvey Weinstein.

Photos and video from the scene show protesters using flares and police deploying tear gas to disperse them.

The entire management of the Cesars resigned two weeks ago, saying that they wanted to “honor those who made cinema in 2019, to regain serenity and make the cinema festival a celebration.” The mass resignation did not affect any of the nominations, however.

Also on rt.com French 'Oscars' management resigns to allow cinema a ‘celebration’ after protests over Roman Polanski & accusations of elitism

Hundreds of film professionals also published an open letter recently, accusing the French film academy of “elitism” and bemoaning its lack of “diversity.”

This year’s big winner – in best picture, people’s choice, editing and best male newcomer categories – was ‘Les Miserables’. Rather than an adaptation of the eponymous Victor Hugo novel, it was a social justice film about police violence against French citizens of African or Arabic origin, directed by Ladj Ly, the son of immigrants from Mali.

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