Woody Allen was the subject of a rape joke during the opening night of the 69th annual Cannes International Film Festival on Wednesday, May 11, where he is premiering his new film Café Society.
“You’ve shot so many of your films here in Europe, and yet in the U.S. you haven’t even been convicted of rape,” French comedian and master of ceremonies Laurent Lafitte said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Allen was joined at the kickoff by Café Society stars Kristen Stewart, Blake Lively and Jesse Eisenberg.
Many interpreted the joke as comparing the Oscar winner to director Roman Polanski, who was arrested in 1977 for the rape of a 13-year-old and later pleaded guilty to the charge of unlawful sex with a minor. When Polanski learned the judge was going to reject the plea bargain, he fled to Europe, where he continues to make films. The Polish director has subsequently escaped several bids by the U.S. for extradition.
The Annie Hall director has raised eyebrows for his relationship with Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of Allen’s former partner Mia Farrow. Allen and Previn, who is 35 years his junior, married in 1997. The actress’ daughter Dylan Farrow has claimed that the famous filmmaker sexually abused her as a child. Allen has vehemently denied these allegations.
Last week, the director gave a rare interview about his wife of 19 years, and how he’s improved Previn’s life from her difficult upbringing in Korea. “I’ve been able to really make her life better,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “I provided her with enormous opportunities, and she has sparked to them. … She has just become a different person. So the contributions I’ve made to her life have given me more pleasure than all my films.”
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