• France's news in English

DSK sex scandal movie gets Cannes première

AFP · 18 May 2014, 09:04

Published: 18 May 2014 09:04 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Far from being shown in one of the big, plush theatres in the festival hall, the film starring Gerard Depardieu as a man with striking similarities to "DSK", whose alleged 2011 sexual assault on a New York hotel maid shook the world, was screened in a small, local cinema.

"Do you know who I am?" read the poster advertising the film "Welcome to New York", as a handcuffed, suited man seen from behind faced flashing photographers with the gleaming lights of New York in the background.

The première of the film by US director Ferrara during the Cannes Film Festival had caused a scrum among film buffs and journalists alike, all keen to get hold of one of the 500 seats available in the cinema.

At a press conference after the film, Depardieu said the film was a "unique adventure because it's drawn from a news item that everyone has read".

"Power, money, sex, there's everything from a Shakespearian tragedy," he told reporters alongside Ferrara and his co-star Jacqueline Bisset.

The start of Ferrara's film states that it is inspired by a court case but it has been widely seen as a fictionalised account of the downfall of a man who was once a strong contender to become president of France.

Strauss-Kahn was arrested in May 2011 as he boarded a plane in New York heading back to Paris, and was forced to live under house arrest for weeks after posting $1 million bail.

Criminal charges in the case were eventually dropped and at the end of 2012, Strauss-Kahn settled a civil suit brought by the maid by paying her undisclosed damages, which reportedly exceeded $1.5 million.

The film portrays the downfall of a powerful man whose high sex drive has made him sick, and there is no shortage of explicit sex scenes.

Ferrara races through the case itself and ends up devoting a lot of time to the conversations taking place after the scandal erupted between Devereaux and his wife Simone, played by Bisset.

"Ferrara does... certain things that are very documentary-style," Scott Foundas, chief film critic for entertainment-industry magazine Variety, told AFP.

"He actually has some of the real police from the actual case playing the cops in the movie and he also films in the real apartment in downtown New York where DSK and (then wife) Anne Sinclair were living during the house arrest period.

"So in that sense, there are some things that are very much taken from reality."

Producer Vincent Maraval said there had been no reaction so far by Strauss-Kahn or Sinclair, who are now divorced.

Asked whether he was worried about any potential legal consequences, Maraval said the film was a US production and therefore came under US law.

"We consulted every necessary lawyer, the lawyers saw the film, they saw the script, and they granted us an insurance, which means that the film has no legal problems," he said.

Acclaimed as one of the greatest actors of his generation, Depardieu has become as famous in recent years for his off-screen antics as for his performing talents.

The star announced in November 2012 that he was moving abroad after President Francois Hollande's Socialist government sought to impose a
75-percent tax rate on annual incomes over one million euros ($1.37 million).

He took up residency in Belgium and was granted Russian citizenship by President Vladimir Putin. The decision sparked controversy, as have his friendships with Putin and Chechnya's strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

Story continues below…

Initial reactions to the film were mixed, but many critics and viewers lauded Depardieu's performance as a superb return to form.

"I think that Depardieu's performance is fantastic, and the film is very interesting," French director Claude Lelouch said after the screening.

US actor Mickey Rourke, meanwhile, said it was Ferrara's best film.

"And in particular, there is Gerard's courage as an actor. I think he has more courage than any other living actor today," he said.

But other viewers were less complimentary.

"It's beyond bad, it's embarrassing, it's in bad taste," one person said.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Photo: SeaBubbles

An in Seine idea surely? But tests will go ahead.

France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished
Photo: AFP

Reports from the scene say scores of migrants are still in the area of the Jungle despite French authorities claiming "mission fulfilled."

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice
Photo: AFP

Head of luxury Cannes hotel has been found alive after being kidnapped in Nice on Monday.

Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Photo: Panoramas/Flickr

... and it's tenants in the smaller apartments that get hit the hardest. Could you be paying too much?

France takes baby steps to make life simpler
Photo: AFP

... including extending the ridiculously short time limit for registering a new baby.

IN PICTURES: Calais Jungle camp goes up in flames
All Photos: AFP

Migrants leave behind a scorched camp as they are moved to locations across France.

French expats in UK suffer Brexit abuse
French ambassador to the UK Sylvie Bermann with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP

French nationals no longer feel at home in the UK, ambassador says. But Brits in France have been greeted with sympathy since the referendum.

Six to go on trial in France over topless Kate photos
Photo: AFP

The topless pics sparked fury among the royals.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available