Woody Allen Says He Supports #MeToo As 50th Film Shows At Venice

From left : French actress Valérie Lemercier, Vittorio Storaro, US director Woody Allen and actress Lou De Laage pose during the photocall of the movie “Coup de Chance” presented out of competition at the 80th Venice Film Festival on September 4, 2023 at Venice Lido. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

Following a critical thrashing for Roman Polanski, another banned director, Woody Allen, arrived at the Venice Film Festival on Monday, saying that he supported the #MeToo movement “when it was beneficial.”

Allen arrived by gondola ahead of the premiere of his 50th picture, “Coup de Chance” (“Stroke of Luck”), his first fully in French — a reflection of the fact that the 87-year-old director is now more popular in Europe than in the United States.

“I thought to myself: it’s my 50th film and I love Paris so much that I’ll make it in French… And then I could think I’m a genuine European filmmaker,” he told reporters.

Since the #MeToo movement, Allen has been virtually blackballed by Hollywood owing to allegations that he raped his adopted daughter in the 1990s, which he claims were concocted by his ex-partner Mia Farrow.

He told Variety that he backed #MeToo “where it does something positive.

“I read instances where it’s very beneficial… for women,” he said, but added: “When it’s silly, it’s silly.”

‘Cancelled Himself’ 

Sofia Coppola, who won the Golden Lion at Venice a decade ago, is also returning to the festival on Monday with her biopic of Elvis Presley’s widow, “Priscilla.”

The festival has been chastised for having Allen and Polanski in its out-of-competition area, despite the fact that he has a child rape conviction and numerous unsolved assault charges.

It would be difficult for Allen’s film to fare worse than Polanski’s slapstick farce “The Palace,” which was panned by reviewers following its Saturday debut and is nearly unanimously regarded as the worst of his career.

Set in a fancy Swiss hotel at the turn of the century, and with jokes that include a dog humping a penguin, critics called “The Palace” a “laughless debacle” (Variety) and “soul-throttlingly crap” (The Telegraph).

“It beggars belief, but, at the age of 90, Polanski may have actually cancelled himself with a film that will probably never see the light of day in any English-speaking countries,” wrote Deadline.

“Coup de Chance” is an altogether more sophisticated affair that fits in the classic Allen mould — a light-hearted dissection of love and infidelity with a beautiful woman at its centre.

He said it was “very simple” working in French.

“I could tell by the body language and the emotion of the actors without understanding the language when they were being realistic and when they weren’t,” he told reporters.

‘American Myth’ 

Meanwhile, Priscilla Presley was set to join Coppola on the red carpet for the biopic of her life.

The director, daughter of “The Godfather” director Francis Ford Coppola, has a long association with the Venice Film Festival.

She premiered her hit 2003 film “Lost in Translation” at the festival and won the Golden Lion with “Somewhere” in 2010 — controversially awarded by her ex-boyfriend, Quentin Tarantino.

Her new film stars Cailee Spaeny (“Mare of Easttown”) as Priscilla, and Jacob Elordi, famous as the heartthrob in Netflix show “Euphoria”, as the rock’n’roll legend.

“Priscilla” is among 23 films competing for the Golden Lion, to be announced on Saturday.

Frontrunners for awards include “Poor Things”, in which Emma Stone plays a sexually voracious reanimated corpse, and “Maestro”, in which Bradley Cooper transforms into legendary conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein.

David Fincher’s “The Killer”, starring Michael Fassbender as a cold-blooded assassin losing control, and Michael Mann biopic “Ferrari”, were also well-received by critics.

Many of the stars have been unable to attend the festival due to strikes by Hollywood actors and writers, primarily over pay in the streaming era and the potential threat of AI.

Written by PH

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