Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy? Comedian and filmmaker Woody Allen on Wednesday became the target of much hilarity at the 69th Cannes Film Festival opening night which featured the premiere of his new film Café Society, The Independent reported. Master of Ceremonies Laurent Lafitte, known for playing the role of Antoine in the 2010 film Little White Lies, rolled up the old sexual allegations against Allen and against another Jewish filmmaker, Roman Polanski, into one unkind joke:
“You’ve shot so many of your films here in Europe, and yet in the US you haven’t even been convicted of rape,” Lafitte said, and the audience responded in shocked gasps.
See, Polish Jewish director Roman Polanski, whose film The Pianist won the Palme d’Or in 2002, fled the US in 1977 after pleading guilty to the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl in California. Polanski had to live and work mostly in France and can never return to America, unless he’d like to sample the local prison system.
Woody Allen, for his part, faced accusations of pedophilia in 1992 after Dylan, his seven-year-old daughter, had told his ex-wife Mia Farrow that he molested her. Farrow filed charges with the police, but the case was dropped in 1993 after a probe by a police-appointed medical team concluded that Dylan had not been molested. Allen also admitted to having an affair with Farrow’s adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn, whom he later married, in 1997.
“Thank you for coming tonight, sir,” Lafitte told Allen, “although it’s the least you could do. Your film isn’t even in competition. What’s the worst that could happen? …Or that it’s not as good as Manhattan?”
Woody Allen’s Manhattan was met with widespread critical acclaim and was nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actress for Mariel Hemingway and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for Allen and for Marshall Brickman. Its North American box office receipts of $39.9 million made it Allen’s second biggest box office hit, after Annie Hall.
So it looks like the French have just learned the art of the Roast and are still not so adept at it. Where’s Don Rickles when you need him?