Franco-Tunisian film director of ‘Blue is the Warmest Colour’ accused of assault

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French prosecutors have opened a sexual assault investigation into Franco-Tunisian film director Abdellatif Kechiche, whose 2013 film “Blue is the Warmest Colour” won the top prize at the Cannes film festival, a legal source said Wednesday.

The BFM news channel said a 29-year-old woman had complained about being assaulted by the director in an apartment in Paris last June after attending a dinner party with him.

The woman claims she fell asleep after consuming several alcoholic drinks and woke up to find herself partially undressed and being molested by Kechiche.

The director “categorically denies these allegations from a person whose only way of making a name for herself is by playing the victim,” his lawyer Jeremie Assous told AFP.

“Blue is the Warmest Colour”, a three-hour film about a blue-haired art student and her intense erotic relationship with a younger girl, wowed the Cannes festival in 2013 but was tarnished by a row afterwards between Kechiche and the young stars.

Actress Lea Seydoux complained that she felt like “a prostitute” when filming the movie’s lengthy, explicit sex scenes and described the experience of shooting with Kechiche as “horrible”.

The director, a former actor with a host of movie awards to his name in France, said he felt “great regret” at the controversy and ended up saying he would have preferred the film not to have been released because it had been “soiled” by the criticism.

A host of famous names in the film and entertainment industry have been accused of sexual assault in the wake of allegations made against US movie mogul Harvey Weinstein last year, which spawned the “Me Too” movement.

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