Abdellatif Kechiche, the French director best known for helming “Blue is the Warmest Color,” has been accused of sexual assaulting a young actress, Deadline reports. The woman, who is remaining anonymous for now, filed a complaint with French police at the beginning of October, alleging Kechiche assaulted her at a dinner party in Paris in June. Kechiche’s lawyer says the director “categorically denies” the accusation.
According to Deadline, French police have started a preliminary investigation into the accusation. The actress says the alleged assault took place at an apartment located in the 20th Arrondissement in Paris. The apartment was owned by a mutual friend of Kechiche and the actress.
Kechiche is famous for sharing the Palme d’Or with actresses Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Despite “Blue Is the Warmest Color” being championed by many critics and moviegoers, some have criticized Kechiche’s male gaze in the film’s extended graphic sex scenes. Both Seydoux and Exarchopoulos said in a September 2013 interview that working with Kechiche was extremely difficult, which led some to question his handling of the sex scenes during production.
The director faced similar criticism after his follow-up, “Mektoub My Love,” premiered at the 2017 Venice Film Festival. Numerous reviews slammed the film for objectifying its female characters. “Those troubled by what they took to be the male gaze of ‘Blue’ will likely be enraged by ‘Mektoub’ – with good reason,” wrote Lee Marshall of ScreenDaily. “If the camera is in love with all the characters, it seems especially aroused by the women.”
Kechiche is currently working on the sequel to “Mektoub My Love.” The director’s other films include “Games of Love and Chance” (2003), “The Secret of the Grain” (2007), and “Black Venus” (2010). Both “Games” and “Grain” won him the César Award for Best Director.