Friday, 12 January 2018

Steve Spielberg slams French critics of #MeToo....

YESTERDAY Steven Spielberg said he disagreed with Catherine Deneuve's insistence that 'the Harvey Weinstein scandal has turned into a "witch hunt" against men'.  Mr Spielberg claimed that sexual has turned was not just a Hollywood problem but it was a 'national problem and probably a global problem'.

On Wednesday Ms. Deneuve, a famous French cinema icon, was one of 100 French female writers, actors and academics who signed a letter published in the newspaper Le Monde.  

The letter claimed that campaigns like #MeToo and its French equivalent #Balancetonporc (Call out your pig) that have stemmed from the Weinstein scandal have gone too far and threaten hard-won sexual freedoms.

Spielberg, a Oscar-winning director, said: 'I don't see it as a witch-hunt at the moment - I don't. I'm sorry I don't see it as a witch-hunt - I see it as an imperative.'  He added that he thought the harassment scandal was a 'watershed moment', with more allegations to come in the future.

Spielberg went on: 'This is a watershed moment, and extolling the virtues of women coming forward through tremendous personal sacrifice, using tremendous amounts of courage to speak about what has happened to them yesterday or 40 years ago, it doesn't matter.'

The French cinema icon Deneuve, who starred in the 1967 French classic Belle de Jour, attacked the 'puritanism' triggered by the recent surge of sexual harassment allegations, arguing men should be 'free to hit on' women.
 
Interestingly, in the 1960s the young French actress Catherine Deneuve teamed-up with the Spanish 'anarchist' film director Luis Buñuel to create Belle De Jour, a dense, Freudian-tinged film that also worked in the director’s trademark surrealism and had better characters and a more potent story to boot.  It is about a young woman frustrated in her recent marriage who seeks to find out what makes men tick by becoming a prostitute.

One early critic wrote of the Buñuel film that 'there is always plenty to look at, often for the sake of humor.  Buñuel has always been a great comedian, with physical, dark humor showing up in the most unlikely places, but here he relegates it largely to background, which only makes it funnier.'

One may even wonder if Mr Spielberg is simply 'virtue signalling' given that this week Michael Douglas became the latest candidate accused of sexual impropriety.  Mr. Spielberg wouldn't want to be the next one to appear on the #MeToo blacklist.

Spielberg also has a new film The Post staring Meryl Streep coming out, which is set during the Nixon administration era in the 1970s, but he says it's actually very current and there are many themes which resonate today. Thus the current scandal allows him to give it a bit of a plug.

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