HomeEntertainment'Cancelled' directors Woody Allen, Roman Polanski and Luc Besson premiered new films...

‘Cancelled’ directors Woody Allen, Roman Polanski and Luc Besson premiered new films at the Venice Film Festival. Here’s how their attempted comeback was received.

Of the most influential people in the movie world, you will sympathize less with “cancelled” filmmakers than Alberto Barbera.

“I side with those who say you have to distinguish between the responsibilities of the individual and those of the artist,” Barbera, artistic director of the Venice Film Festival, told Variety in July.

In the interview, Barbera defended his immediately controversial decision to show the 2023 edition of the venerable Italian festival, which runs from August 30 to September 9, new projects from Woody Allen, Roman Polanski and Luc Besson – all legendary filmmakers. all in a way. point accused of sexual predation, and anyone with a career has been flattened, especially in the wake of the industry’s #MeToo reckoning in 2017.

The cases of Allen, Polanski and Besson are all markedly different. But together they represent the debate about which Barbera is taking a path that is usually less traveled in Hollywood: separating the art from the artist.

Here’s how each of their Lido premieres went over the weekend.

Woody Allen premieres Coup

Woody Allen, wife Soon-Yi Previn and their daughters at the Venice International Film Festival on Sept. 4, 2023 (Portfolio Marilla Sicilia/Archivio Marilla Sicilia/Mondadori via Getty Images)

Still in 2017, the 87-year-old Anne Hall And Manhattan Writer-director still made ensembles with stars almost annually, while filming A rainy day in New York in September with Timothée Chalamet, Selena Gomez, Jude Law, Diego Luna and Rebecca Hall. A month later, the #MeToo movement exploded after a New York Times investigative report on Harvey Weinstein led Amazon to terminate its distribution deal with Allen, who was accused in 1992 by ex-partner Mia Farrow of sexually abusing their adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow. (Allen was investigated but never charged, and he eventually married Mia’s adopted daughter from a previous relationship, Soon-Yi Previn). Stars Chalamet, Gomez and Hall subsequently announced that they would donate their salaries to charities.

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Allen’s career hasn’t been the same since. Actors such as Kate Winslet, Colin Firth and Elliot Page have expressed regret about working with him. He cast Christoph Waltz for 2020 Rifkin festival, but the film had a quiet premiere at a quiet film festival, Spain’s San Sebastián International Film Festival. (Neither Rainy day nor Rifkin had US distribution.) He lost his book deal.

Coup is Allen’s first film in three years, his fiftieth feature film and his first French-language film. “Woody Allen underwent legal investigation twice in the late 1990s and was acquitted,” Barbera told Variety. “After almost 25 years, why should we continue to ban his films?” Barbera asked The Guardian. “It’s impossible to release his movies in the US right now, which is absolutely incredible.”

The reaction to Allen in Venice was decidedly mixed at the time Coup premiered Monday night. According to The Hollywood Reporter, two dozen protesters gathered outside the theater chanting slogans such as “No rape culture!” Inside, however, the filmmaker was greeted with a standing ovation before the film even began, and received three minutes of standing applause after the screening — which Variety says would have continued had the director not gone for the exit.

The film has received generally positive reviews, with an 83% approval rating currently on Rotten Tomatoes. Variety’s Owen Gleiberman called it Allen’s best work since 2015 Blue Jasmine. “As a culture, I wouldn’t be too surprised if we debated whether it’s time to give Woody Allen, as a filmmaker, another chance,” he wrote.

However, it remains to be seen whether Allen will continue to work. In a separate interview with Variety, he alluded to his retirement. “I have so many ideas for movies that I would be tempted to carry them out, if it were easy to finance,” he said. “But other than that, I don’t know if I have the same desire to go out and spend a lot of time raising money.”

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When asked if he feels like he’s been cancelled, Allen replied, “I think all of that is so stupid. I don’t think about it. I don’t know what it means to be cancelled. I know that over the years everything has been the same for me. I make my movies. What has changed is the presentation of the films.”

Roman Polanski premieres The palace

Roman Polanski, now 90, used to be indicted – on six criminal charges in connection with drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of unlawful association with a minor, but when he heard the judge would close the deal he fled the US in 1978 before he could be convicted and has been making films in Europe ever since.

Hollywood was initially forgiving, which never became more apparent than on March 23, 2003, when Polanski won the Academy Award for Best Director for his Holocaust drama. The pianist. His 2010 thriller The ghost writer was also well received. Even his first post-#MeToo release, 2019 An officer and a spy, flourished. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival and received twelve nominations for the César Awards, the French equivalent of the Oscars.

“Polanski is one of the last great masters of European cinema,” Barbera told The Guardian. “He made big mistakes fifty years ago. He admitted that he was guilty. He asked for forgiveness from the victim, and the victim granted her forgiveness. I am not a judge asked to pass judgment on someone’s bad behavior. I am a film critic, my job is to judge the quality of his films. But of course it is a very difficult situation.”

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Polanski’s latest premiere in Venice, The palaceis a dark comedy starring Mickey Rourke as one of many guests at a Swiss luxury hotel on New Year’s Eve during Y2K.

The premiere on Friday also drew minor protests, receiving only a “lukewarm” three-minute standing ovation from the audience. (At European film festivals like Venice and Cannes, it’s customary for the creative team to receive a standing ovation; however, anything shorter than five minutes is considered bland. True crowd pleasers can receive ovations that can last as long as ten minutes.) Polanski did not attend .

The critical response was brutal. Variety’s Gleiberman called it a “showy debacle.” Vanity Fair describes it as “unwatchable on the border.” It currently has a 0% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes after 12 reviews.

Luc Besson premieres Dog man

Luc Besson arrives with Virginie Silla and their children Sateen Besson, Mao Besson and Thalia Besson for the Venice premiere of Dogman on Aug. 31, 2023. (Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

Luc Besson arrives with Virginie Silla and their children Sateen Besson, Mao Besson and Thalia Besson for the Venice premiere of Dog man on Aug. 31, 2023. (Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

Barbera was perhaps most defensive of Besson, the 64-year-old French filmmaker behind it The professional And The fifth element who was charged with rape in 2018 but acquitted of all charges in 2023. However, several other women alleged “inappropriate sexual conduct” by Besson in a 2018 investigative report by French outlet Mediapart.

“Luc Besson has recently been completely cleared of all charges,” Barbera told Variety, adding to The Guardian: “For what reason should we ban a film [Allen and Besson] when in the light of justice they are not guilty? Why should we be stricter with them? We have to have faith in the justice system.”

Besson’s new action drama Dog man – his first since 2019 Anna — follows a dog-loving New Jersey man (Caleb Landry Jones) who was abused by his father as a child.

The film premiered at the Palazzo del Cinema on Aug. 31 to a nearly six-minute standing ovation that moved Besson to tears, according to Deadline, whose critic Damon Wise raved about the “noisy-crazy action thriller.”

Other reviewers were not so kind. “Obviously, creatively inert, deathly dull,” wrote Variety’s Jessica Kiang.

Dog man currently has a measly 46% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

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