French actor files rape charges against director Benoit Jacquot

AFP , Wednesday 7 Feb 2024

French actor Judith Godreche has pressed charges against film director Benoit Jacquot 25 years her senior, accusing him of raping her when she was a teenager, her lawyer said Wednesday.

Judith Godreche, Benoit Jacquot
Benoit Jacquot L , Judith Godreche R (Photo: AFP)

 

On Tuesday, the 51-year-old actress lodged a formal complaint with the Juvenile Protection Brigade (BPM) for suspected rape of a minor by a person in a position of authority, lawyer Laure Heinich told AFP.

The announcement comes as French cinema is reeling from claims the world of arts has shrugged off sexism and sexual abuse for decades.

Taking to social media in January, Godreche accused Jacquot, now 77, of manipulating her into a relationship as a vulnerable underage actor, saying the arts have provided cover for abuse.

French daily Le Monde, which first carried the story of the formal complaint, said that Jacquot "firmly" denies the allegations. Jacquot declined to speak to AFP when asked to comment in January.

The relationship between the two began in the spring of 1986, when Godrech was just 14, and ended in the early 1990s.

Godreche said she remained "in his grip" for six years, starring in two films he directed, "Les Mendiants" ("The beggars") in 1988 and "La Desenchantee" ("The disenchanted") in 1990.

She decided to speak out after discovering him boasting about their relationship being a "transgression", and cinema providing a "cover" for it, in a 2011 documentary.

"I threw up," Godreche has told the TMC television channel, seeing him enjoy such "impunity".

"Consent does not exist when you're 14," she said. "I wasn't seduced, I was completely manipulated."

Jacquot, a director with more than 50 films and TV films to his name, has said he needs to be "in love" with his actresses to film them.

He has worked with established heavyweights such as Catherine Deneuve and Isabelle Huppert, but also Godreche, Virginie Ledoyen -- known for the 2000 thriller "The Beach" -- and Isild Le Besco as teenagers.

In 2015, he described his work as "pushing an actress to pass a threshold.

"The best way to do all that is to be in the same bed."

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