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Roman Polanski’s new film hits French screens amid controversy

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 Roman Polanski’s new film, J’accuse, opened in France on Wednesday amid controversy over the veteran director’s 1977 conviction for sex with a minor and a new allegation against him.

A Tuesday night preview showing in Paris’ Latin Quarter was cancelled after feminist activists blocked the cinema, newspaper Le Parisien reported.

Gender Equality Minister, Marlene Schiappa condemned the blockade and refused to join calls for a boycott of the film, although she told newspaper Le Figaro that she would not be going to see it herself.

`J’accuse,’ which won this year’s Grand Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival, recounts the wrongful spying conviction in 1894 of Jewish army officer Alfred Dreyfus, and his eventual rehabilitation.

The Dreyfus Affair divided France and became an emblematic case of anti-Semitism.

Polish-French cineaste Polanski was expelled from the U.S Oscars film academy in 2018 in the wake of the #MeToo movement, which saw numerous women recount their experiences of sexual harassment and abuse.

The now 86-year-old director pleaded guilty in California in 1977 to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl, but fled to Europe in 1978 before his sentencing.

Last week French actress and photographer Valentine Monnier, in an account published by Le Parisien, accused the Polish-French director of having raped her in 1975 when she was 18 years old.

Polanski’s lawyer Herve Temime denied the allegation.

HS/HA

Edited by Halima Sheji/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

 

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