Paul Verhoeven, who has the same name as the Dutch movie maker behind Hollywood hits such as Basic Instinct and Robocop, is suing Cannes, claiming his film ‘Teenagers’ was rejected because it offended “homophobic” selectors.
Verhoeven’s lawsuit is the first ever filed against the festival since it was founded in 1946.
The 73-year-old’s low budget film was shown at festivals around the world, but was turned down after being submitted to Cannes.
His suspicions were aroused after he emailed a representative to ask why his film was rejected. He was then accidentally copied in on an email which referred to his film as ethically “very doubtful”.
(Paul Verghoeven, 73, is suing Cannes. Photo: Paul Verhoeven)
In a video deposition to judges Verhoeven claimed his film had the potential to be powerful enough to “turn young people away from terrorism, suicide, delinquency and homophobia.”
He demands Cannes festival either show the film this year or pay for it to be screened in cinemas.
Verhoeven’s accusations might be slightly undermined by the fact that in 2013, the Palme d’Or was won by the erotic lesbian love story Blue is the Warmest Colour.
A spokesman for Cannes has called the lawsuit “absurd” and that Cannes rejects hundreds of films each year
A ruling is due later this month.