Open letter Cannes titled ‘Le Retour’ – denies unfair treatment on deadline

French director Catherine Corsini and her producer Elisabeth Pérez have published an open letter denying wrongdoing on the set of the upcoming Cannes Palme d’Or contender. le retor,

There have been several French media reports over the past two weeks, detailing a lack of protection for minors, as well as allegations of abuse by crew members and young actors who were filming in Corsica at the end of last year. Happened during and during. Year.

For a while, it looked as though the allegations would result in the film being denied a promised spot in the Cannes Film Festival’s main competition, but earlier this week the title was announced among 13 feature additions to the official selection. The announcement was made.

“Anonymous and defamatory emails have been sent to the profession and the press, creating a rumor that was very damaging to the film. Thankfully, the world’s biggest festival took the time to carefully fact-check it,” on Tuesday evening Read the letter posted and signed by Corsini and Pérez under their Paris-based Chase Productions banner.

It remains to be seen whether the open letter will quell the media storm in the lead-up to the film’s world premiere in Cannes, with the local film industry also divided in its response to the report and the film’s festival’s decision to compete.

le retor reunites Corsini with Aissatou Diallo Sagna, his last film discovery DivisionStarring a woman who travels to Corsica with her wealthy Parisian employers for the summer to look after their children.

She is accompanied by her teenage daughters on a journey to take them back to the island they abandoned under tragic circumstances years ago. While the mother struggles with her memories, the girls begin a fever of joy and discovery about their past.

At the center of stories in the French press was the revelation that during shooting the production had added a masturbation scene, performed for the first time by the actress, who was 15 at the time, without notifying the relevant bodies overseeing security. Was staying minors on set

It emerged that the production’s failure to declare the scene to France’s National Cinema Center (CNC), and its commission overseeing productions involving minors, prompted the body to take the rare step of withdrawing $513,000 in state funding. was inspired.

CNC also reported the incident to the prosecutor’s office, although no personal complaints have been filed against the production or Corsini in either case.

Perez has previously stated that the omission of the scene from the script submitted as part of the funding application was an administrative error.

The open letter further addressed the facts surrounding the intimate scene.

“During the shoot, Catherine Corsini added a scene between two young actors, aged 15 and a half and 17. Even if it was done in agreement with them, we should have announced it.

“Not doing so is a violation of the law and has led to the production being approved by the CNC. But let’s stop the fantasies. The teenagers were both clothed, and the scene was filmed with their faces on. There was no touching or inappropriate contact between the two, as has been suggested in the press.

“Cinema is the art of suggestion. The youth understood this. Undeterred in any way, she refused the intimacy coach and body doubles that were offered to her with insistence because of her belief in her relationship with the director.

The scene at the center of the media storm didn’t make the final cut.

However, its existence came to light after labor representatives of the crew called for an inspection of the set by the workplace health and safety body, CCHSCT, following allegations of harassment and poor working conditions.

Corsini and Pérez’s open letter also addressed some of these allegations, stating that they had always “engaged against every form of violence and harassment on set”.

“There were two reports of inappropriate gestures against two crew members, which led to an internal inquiry, which was transmitted to the CCHSCT … The CCHSCT could see that this was dealt with appropriately.”

News on Monday that Cannes had added the film to competition divided the French film industry, prompting both expressions of solidarity for the production and outrage.

In an involuntary public display of anger, respected producer Marc Missonnier, whose credits include François Ozon 8 women And swimming pool as well as Javier Gianoli’s Daisy and more recent TV dramas Cheyenne and Lola And miragesaid the move was a sign that the festival was out of touch.

“It is surprising to see how different the world’s biggest film festival has become from what it is today and to see how the whole issue of the border, especially in the case of scenes of a sexual nature, has been ignored by French cinema. are ignored,” he wrote in a tweet.

“It is today in full knowledge of the facts, after all the articles have come out, that Thierry Frémaux chooses to take a problematic film into competition, spitting it out in front of all who might dare to condemn the scandalous facts,” he continued.

Missonnier questioned how public bodies such as the Ministry of Culture, the National Cinema Center (CNC) and the Cannes City Council could support the film’s selection and said he would boycott Cannes this year.

“It is curious to see how Americans will react to this choice, who will find themselves side by side with this film and who will be questioned about it. As far as I am concerned, my choice remains : #BoycottCannes,” he said.

France’s gender equality organization Collectif 50/50, launched in 2018 in the wake of the #MeToo movement, also indicated “its compulsion” over the film’s selection.

“This is clearly a devastating sign for victims of gender-based and sexual violence,” it said. “It is also a sign that the Cannes Film Festival in 2023 has not evolved enough to consider the topic of ethical, sexist and sexual violence.”

Sources tell Deadline, that beyond questions about how the masturbation scene was set up, the real issue was the crew’s treatment and working conditions on set.

The collective indicated its support for all crew and cast on the film and said it was open to gathering their statements and transmitting them to the relevant authorities.

It added that more needed to be done to ensure that conditions on film sets complied with national penal and labor laws, through more mandatory training for producers and increased workplace inspections.

It also called for better monitoring of stipulated conditions by government labor agencies.

“The fight against violence cannot be the responsibility of the employees only, the Ministry of Labor also needs to integrate the specialties of our domain, especially by facilitating the intervention of work inspections.”