So, The Cannes Film Festival Opened With A Rape Joke

Credit: VALERY HACHE / Staff
The Cannes Film Festival started May 11 in the seaside French town of the same name. Director Woody Allen's latest film, Café Society, opened the festival, marking his third time having the privilege. After a walk down the red carpet, Allen sat in a crowded theatre while French comedian Laurent Lafitte opened the event for the crowd as the master of ceremony. His first joke? One involving rape. “It’s very nice that you’ve been shooting so many movies in Europe, even if you are not being convicted for rape in the U.S.,” Lafitte said to Allen and the crowd. He veiled the joke as one aimed at another director, Roman Polanski, who lived in and made films in Europe after raping and drugging a 13-year-old girl. But the intended butt of the joke was obviously Allen. The joke was, ironically, said only moments after the crowd settled down from giving Allen a standing ovation. Apparently, the theatre was not too keen on the comedian's joke. The Hollywood Reporter described the opening monologue: "Ill-timed gag draws gasps from the shocked opening-night crowd." Eyes are currently on the 80-year-old filmmaker now more than ever following the release of a personal essay from his estranged son, Ronan Farrow. He called out the leading ladies of Allen's film, Blake Lively and Kristen Stewart, asking them whether or not they will make statements regarding the alleged sexual abuse claims against his father. Farrow wrote, "We are witnessing a sea change in how we talk about sexual assault and abuse. But there is more work to do to build a culture where women like my sister are no longer treated as if they are invisible. It's time to ask some hard questions." Or say the hard jokes.

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