While serving as master of ceremonies during opening night of the Cannes Film Festival, French comedian Laurent Lafitte made a joke that elicited more gasps than laughs. Speaking of Woody Allen, whose “Café Society” is just about to open the festival, he said, “You’ve shot so many of your films here in Europe and yet in the U.S. you haven’t even been convicted of rape.”
READ MORE: Cannes Review: Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg Freshen a Familiar Woody Allen Formula in ‘Cafe Society’
The joke was interpreted by many as also alluding to Roman Polanski, another acclaimed filmmaker who’s premiered several works on the Croisette. The United States attempted to extradite Polanski last year to face charges of sexual assault. Allen’s daughter Dylan Farrow has accused him of molesting her when she was seven years old, leading to a case against the filmmaker that was eventually dropped; the allegations once again made headlines in 2014, when Farrow published an open letter in the New York Times. Her brother Ronan, a vocal defender of his sister, just published a Hollywood Reporter article criticizing both Allen and Hollywood as a whole for what he calls their “silence” to these accusations.
“Thank you for coming tonight, sir,” Lafitte also remarked. “Although it’s the least you could do. Your film isn’t even in competition. What’s the worst that could happen? … Or that it’s not as good as ‘Manhattan.'”
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