"Welcome to New York" by Abel Ferrara, which had a private
screening on the sidelines of the Cannes film festival at the
weekend and has been on pay-per-view in France, is billed as a
piece of fiction and comes with a legal disclaimer.
But Strauss-Kahn's lawyer said the film was defamatory in that
its subject matter was similar to the accusations leveled
against Strauss-Kahn, who quit the Washington-based
International Monetary Fund in 2011 after a New York hotel maid
accused him of sexual assault.
Strauss-Kahn settled a civil case taken by the maid after
criminal charges were dropped.
"This happened three years ago and he was cleared," lawyer Jean
Veil told Europe 1 radio on Monday.
"He is frightened, sickened (by the film). He has instructed his
lawyers, myself, to make a complaint for defamation based on
accusations of rape, on the insinuations made throughout this
Interviewed by Reuters TV in Cannes, fimlmaker Ferrara said the
film was fiction and that he had the right to choose his
"Iím not on trial," Ferrara said. "Iím an artist, I have freedom
of speech. Iím from America Iím from the country of the free,
land of the free and home of the brave.
[to top of second column]
The film begins with an extended sex-party scene before the
encounter between the main character, George Devereau, and a maid.
Throughout the over 20-minute scene, Depardieu appears naked and
flits from one bacchanalian encounter to another.
Reporters the screening were handed a gift bag containing condoms
Trade publication Variety called the film in a review "a sure-fire
scandal-starter in France" and said the "audacious performance (from
Depardieu) is undeniably the pic's chief selling point," a view
shared by most critics.
Films that are not competing in the official 12-day film festival at
Cannes often hold screenings nonetheless in order to gain publicity.
Following the "Welcome to New York" screening, the film was made
available throughout France on pay-per-view.
(Reporting by Mark John in Paris, Matthew Stock and Alexandria Sage
in Cannes Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)
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