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#MeToo: 'French Oscars' stars to wear white ribbons at César ceremony

Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt, AFP | Placards include "If raping is an art, give Polanski all the Cesars" at an October 30, 2017, demo outside the Cinémathèque Française in Paris where filmmaker Roman Polanski was due to attend a retrospective of his work.
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Stars attending the “French Oscars”—the Cesars—on Friday will wear a white ribbon in protest at violence against women, organisers said.


“We are all going to wear white ribbons,” Alain Terzian, the head of the French Academy told AFP on Tuesday, after actors and directors at the Golden Globes and the British Bafta awards wore black in solidarity with the #MeToo movement.

The Berlin film festival, which wrapped up at the weekend, also came under pressure to replace its red carpet with a black one in support of victims of sexual harassment in Hollywood after the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

The Cesars sparked feminist fury last year by inviting controversial Franco-Polish director Roman Polanski to preside over the awards before he was forced to pull out.

The veteran filmmaker who has been accused of sexual assault by several women is wanted in the United States for the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl in 1977.

Terzian said the Franco-American actress and director Tonie Marshall came up with the white ribbon idea to support a French foundation that works to stop violence against women.

“We will all wear the ribbon with conviction and determination,” he added.

‘Now we act’

About 100 actresses and other figures launched the hashtag Maintenant On Agit (Now We Act) campaign this week ahead of Friday’s award ceremony.

A call on the web site of the Foundation of Women, collaborating with the white-ribbon movement, says that “’We submitted,’ ‘We endured,’ ‘We kept silent.’”

More than 100 personalities, including Marshall, Emmanuelle Devos, Agnes Jaoui, Julie Gayet and Sandrine Bonnaire, asked for donations via the foundation. The funds are destined for associations helping women pursue cases before justice, “so that no woman ever again has to say #MeToo.”

French Culture Minister Francoise Nyssen said film producers had a huge “responsibility to fight stereotypes, discrimination and harassment” both on camera and behind it.

“No matter who were are dealing with, we cannot have any tolerance or complacency about unacceptable behaviour,” she added.

Nyssen also was highly critical of how few films directed by women get made.

“Certainly we have made some progress in recent years, but it is still not acceptable that there are fewer women film-makers, that they are less visible and less supported” than their male counterparts, she said.

“In 42 years the Cesar for best director has only been won once by a woman,” she added, referring to Marshall, who won in 2000 for “Venus Beauty”.

She said only one in five feature films subsidised by the French state every year are made by women.

The situation is Hollywood is even worse, with only seven percent of the top 250 films in 2016 directed by women.

Several actors at Berlin launched a campaign to bring equal rights to the red carpet.

German star Anna Bruggemann urged actresses to ditch high heels and low-cut dresses to challenge the “patriarchal gaze” women face at award ceremonies.

She launched a Twitter hashtag #NobodysDoll and signed up a number of other mostly German stars to her causes.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and AP)

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