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Culture

DSK to sue over Cannes sex scandal film

© AFP file picture

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-05-19

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former IMF chief who was forced to resign after a New York hotel maid accused him of rape, is suing a US filmmaker whose latest film draws its inspirations from the much-publicized scandal, DSK's lawyers said Monday.

"Welcome to New York" by Abel Ferrara stars Gerard Depardieu as a sex addict called Georges Devereaux whose character and story shares striking similarities with "DSK" – whose alleged 2011 sexual assault on Nafissitou Diallo shook the world.

Speaking on Europe 1 radio, Strauss-Kahn's lawyer Jean Veil said his client “is frightened, sickened (by the film). He has instructed his lawyers, myself, to make a complaint for defamation based on accusations of rape, on the insinuations made throughout this film.”

“This happened three years ago and he was cleared,” Veil said.

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 DSK, who headed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) between 2007 and 2011.

DSK was arrested in May 2011 in New York and was forced to live under house arrest for weeks after posting $1 million bail.

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

Interviewed by Reuters TV in Cannes, filmmaker Ferrara said the film was fiction and that he had the right to choose his subjects.

“I’m not on trial,” Ferrara said. ”I’m an artist, I have freedom of speech. I’m from America I’m from the country of the free, land of the free and home of the brave.”

The film begins with an extended sex-party scene before the encounter between the main character and a maid. Throughout the over 20-minute scene, Depardieu appears naked and flits from one bacchanalian encounter to another.

Reporters at the screening were handed a gift bag containing condoms and Viagra.

Trade publication Variety called the film in a review “a sure-fire scandal-starter in France” and said the “audacious performance (from Depardieu) is undeniably the pic’s chief selling point,” a view shared by most critics.

Films that are not competing in the official 12-day film festival at Cannes often hold screenings nonetheless in order to gain publicity. Following the “Welcome to New York” screening, the film was made available throughout France on pay-per-view.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)

Date created : 2014-05-19

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