French directors guild to propose suspending Polanski

November 19, 2019 - 14:41
French-Polish director Roman Polanski's new film topped the box office this weekend in France despite the controversy over sexual assault allegations. AFP/VNA Photo

PARIS — A French organisation of more than 200 film-makers said Monday it will propose new rules for members charged or convicted of sexual violence, which could lead to the suspension of French-Polish director Roman Polanski.

The board of the ARP directors' guild voted to present to its members "new procedures to suspend any member facing legal charges, and expel any member convicted, especially for crimes of a sexual nature," said Pierre Jolivet, ARP president.

The proposed rules for suspension "would affect Roman Polanski whose judicial case is still open in the United States and for which he has been charged," Jolivet added

The proposed changes to the directors' guild's rules will be presented to members for a vote at a special general assembly for which no date has yet been set, an ARP spokesman told AFP.

Polanski has been a fugitive from US justice since admitting to the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl in 1977 in a plea bargain to avoid a trial on more serious charges.

The 86-year-old film-maker was accused of drugging and raping the girl, and fled to France when it appeared a judge was reconsidering his release.

And this month former French model and actress Valentine Monnier accused Polanski of raping her in 1975 when she was 18 after beating her "into submission" at his Swiss chalet.

Monnier, who now works as a photographer, said she felt compelled to speak out after Polanski compared himself to the hero of his new film, Alfred Dreyfus, the Jewish officer wrongly persecuted as a spy by the French army at the turn of the 20th century.

Despite the controversy swirling around Polanski and calls to boycott his film, An Officer and a Spy ("J'accuse" in French) topped the box office in France this weekend, one of the strongest openings for a French film this year. — AFP