Woody Allen premiere chaos as protesters chant 'no rape culture'
Woody Allen premiere chaos as protesters chanting ‘no rape culture’ scuffle with security – as director promotes Coup De Chance in Venice with wife Soon-Yi Previn – the adopted daughter of his ex, Mia Farrow
- The 87-year-old has been shunned by Hollywood since the #MeToo movement
- Allen’s arrival on the red carpet was greeted by boos from the crowd at the festival which has also been criticised for including a film from Roman Polanski
Protesters chanting ‘no rape culture’ scuffled with Venice Film Festival security ahead of the premier of Woody Allen’s 50th film last night.
The director – acclaimed and controversial in equal measure, arrived on the red carpet with his wife Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of his ex-partner.
The 87-year-old has been shunned by Hollywood since the #MeToo movement emerged, due to allegations he molested Previn in the 1990s and his own adopted daughter, which he says were fabricated by his ex, actress Mia Farrow.
Allen’s arrival on the red carpet was greeted by boos from the crowd ahead of the premier of his ‘Coup de Chance’ (‘Stroke of Luck’).
Scuffles also broke out, with protesters chanting ‘no rape culture’ and clamouring to get on the red carpet before they were eventually led away from the event.
The director Woody Allen (left) – acclaimed and controversial in equal measure, arrived on the red carpet with his wife Soon-Yi Previn (right), the adopted daughter of his ex-partner
Protesters chanting ‘no rape culture’ (pictured) scuffled with Venice Film Festival security ahead of the premier of Woody Allen ‘s Coup De Chance film last night
The 87-year-old Woody Allen (pictured on Monday in Venice) has been shunned by Hollywood since the #MeToo movement emerged, due to allegations he molested Previn in the 1990s, which he says were fabricated by his ex, actress Mia Farrow
Valerie Lermercier, Woody Allen and Lou De Laage attend a red carpet for the movie ‘Coup De Chance’ at the 80th Venice International Film Festival on September 4, 2023. Allen’s arrival on the red carpet was greeted by boos from the crowd ahead of the premier of his ‘Coup de Chance’ (‘Stroke of Luck’)
The red carpet arrivals continued unhindered and the group were soon removed from in front of the Lido cinema, witnesses said.
Despite the frosty reception to Allen outside, journalists during a press conference are reported to have given him a standing ovation as he walked into the room.
His film – his first movie entirely in French – also received a warmer reaction at the festival than his fellow Hollywood outcast Roman Polanski, who suffered a critical mauling with his movie ‘The Palace’. He did not attend in person.
The festival has drawn flak for including Allen and Polanski, who has a child sex conviction and faces other unresolved assault allegations.
Speaking in Venice, Allen told Variety that he backed #MeToo ‘where it does something positive. ‘I read instances where it’s very beneficial… for women,’ he said, but added: ‘When it’s silly, it’s silly.’
He also told reporters he has lived a ‘very, very lucky life’, making no reference to the scandals that have dogged his latter years.
‘I have had nothing but good fortune and I hope it holds out, although obviously it is early this afternoon,’ he told reporters ahead of the premiere of his first French-language film, ‘Coup de Chance’.
‘I had two loving parents, I have good friends, I have a wonderful wife and marriage, two children. In a few months I will be 88 years old. I have never been in a hospital. I have never had anything terrible happen to me,’ he said.
The four-time Oscar-winning director of ‘Annie Hall’ and other comedies has had a turbulent personal life that has seen him increasingly shunned by many celebrities and executives in Hollywood.
Allen met Mia Farrow in 1979, with the pair starting a relationship in 1980. Farrow starred in 13 of Allen’s films from 1982 to 1992, but they never lived together – instead living in separate apartments on opposite sides of New York City’s Central Park.
When they met, Farrow had seven children – three biological sons from an earlier marriage as well as four adopted children, including Soon-Yi Previn.
When Allen and Farrow were unable to have their own baby together, Farrow adopted another baby girl – Dylan Farrow – in 1985. Farrow went on to give birth to their son, Satchel Ronan Farrow (now a well-known journalist) in 1987.
Allen and his personal life hit the headlines in the 1990s following his affair and marriage to Previn, as well as sex abuse accusations by Allen and Farrow’s adopted daughter Dylan. He has always denied the accusations and was never charged.
It is understood Allen and Previn developed a close relationship in 1991, and in 1992, Mia Farrow says she found nude photographs of her in Allen’s home.
Allen admitted to taking the photographs two weeks after first having sex with Previn, according to testimony he gave in a later custody battle, when she was 21.
In a 1992 interview with Time Magazine, Allen said: ‘I am not Soon-Yi’s father or stepfather’, adding, ‘I’ve never even lived with Mia.
‘I’ve never in my entire life slept at Mia’s apartment, and I never even used to go over there until my children came along seven years ago. I never had any family dinners over there. I was not a father to her adopted kids in any sense of the word.’
Pictured: Protests are seen at the Venice Film festival ahead of the premier of Allen’s new film
Pictured: Protesters are seen near the red carpet at the Venice Film festival on Monday night
Protesters scuffled with security outside the film festival on Monday ahead of Allen’s film
The filmmaker, 87, was supported by his wife Soon-Yi Previn and their adopted daughters Manzie Tio, 23, and Bechet, 24, at the premiere of his film (L-R Woody Allen, Soon-Yi Previn, Bechet Allen and Manzie Tio Allen)
Appearing at a press conference earlier that day, Allen admitted he has been ‘very lucky my whole life’ and ‘not been held accountable for things I did poorly’
The family gathered as they posed for photos in Venice on Monday evening
Allen (left) met Mia Farrow (right) in 1979, with the pair starting a relationship in 1980. Farrow starred in 13 of Allen’s films from 1982 to 1992, but they never lived together – instead living in separate apartments on opposite sides of New York City’s Central Park.
Allen and his personal life hit the headlines in the 1990s following his affair and marriage to Previn, as well as sex abuse accusations by Allen and Farrow’s adopted daughter Dylan. He has always denied the accusations and was never charged
He was also accused by his adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow, then aged seven, of having sexually molested her in Mia Farrow’s home. Allen has repeatedly denied the allegation, and has never been found guilty of an offence.
Allen and Soon-Yi, who have a 35-year age difference, are still married and have two adopted daughters.
Speaking about his film, Allen said he originally intended to cast US actors in the main roles of ‘Coup de Chance’, but said he had always been inspired by European filmmakers so was happy to switch languages, even though he doesn’t speak French.
‘It was very simple. If you watch a Japanese film, you can tell if the acting is good, realistic and natural, or if it is dramatic and silly and too exaggerated.
‘It is the same thing here,’ he said.
Like many of his films, ‘Coup de Chance’ draws inspiration from the themes of love, adultery and death. However, Allen said it was not worth dwelling too long on death.
‘There is nothing you can do about it. It is a bad deal and you are stuck with it,’ he said.
Allen has previously suggested ‘Coup de Chance’ might be his final movie.
However, on Monday he said he had a good idea for a story based in his native New York and would make it if he could find a backer willing to accept his terms – not to read the script or to know whom he had cast.
‘If some foolish person agrees to that, then I will make the film in New York,’ he said.
As for Polanski, his slapstick comedy ‘The Palace’ was torn to shreds by critics after its premiere on Saturday.
Set in a fancy Swiss hotel at the turn of the century, and with jokes that include a dog humping a penguin, critics called ‘The Palace’ a ‘laughless debacle’ (Variety) and ‘soul-throttlingly crap’ (The Telegraph).
‘It beggars belief, but, at the age of 90, Polanski may have actually cancelled himself with a film that will probably never see the light of day in any English-speaking countries,’ wrote Deadline.
The life of the 90-year-old Franco-Polish director has often seemed dangerously in step with the most extreme highs and lows of the past century.
He has been a victim of horrific crimes – losing a mother to the gas chambers of Auschwitz, and a wife and child to the Manson Family cult. He has also been a perpetrator – a convicted child rapist, later accused of multiple other sex crimes.
Despite the frosty reception of Allen himself, his film – his first movie entirely in French – received a warmer reaction at the festival than his fellow Hollywood outcast Roman Polanski (pictured in 2019), who suffered a critical mauling
And he remains seen as a great artist – with films such as ‘Chinatown’, ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ and ‘The Pianist’ winning eight Academy Awards from 27 nominations, as well as many other prizes around the world.
For a long time, his achievements overshadowed his crimes, particularly in France where he fled in 1978 from what was widely seen as a botched trial in California for unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl.
But as attitudes changed in later years, Polanski’s privileged status became a lightning rod for protests.
In 1977 Polanski was arrested after 13-year-old Samantha Gailey accused him of plying her with drugs and champagne, and forcibly sodomising her against her will.
Seeking to spare the child a trial, prosecutors dropped the most serious charges in a plea deal, with Polanski accepting guilt for unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.
He served 42 days behind bars in the notorious Chino prison while undergoing psychiatric evaluation.
However, the judge, Laurence Rittenband, who had already taken several controversial decisions in the case, then appeared set to change his mind and hand down a lengthy prison sentence – at which point Polanski fled to Europe, beginning a new life as a fugitive.
All parties – including Gailey and the chief prosecutor – agreed the judge mishandled the case, with Gailey’s own lawyer saying that despite Polanski’s ‘outrageous’ crime, ‘he was supposed to be treated fairly in court and clearly he was not’.
The case has dogged Polanski for the rest of his life, even after Gailey publicly forgave him in 1997 and said her treatment by the press and judicial system were worse than the original crime.
An Interpol red notice was issued for Polanski in 2005, and he was detained in Switzerland when he came to pick up a lifetime achievement award at the Zurich Film Festival.
After two months in detention and eight more under house arrest, the US extradition request was rejected. A similar attempt at extradition was also blocked in Poland in 2015 after a brief detention.
Polanski married his third wife, French actress Emmanuelle Seigner, in 1989, and the couple have two children.
‘In the eyes of many people I am a kind of gnome and debauched individual,’ Polanski wrote in his autobiography. ‘But my friends – and the women in my life – know exactly what they are dealing with.’
‘He’s an intense director, a man who’s lived an intense life. He was exhilarating,’ said Pierce Brosnan, who starred in his 2010 thriller ‘The Ghost Writer’.
The festival has drawn flak for including Allen and Polanski (pictured in Venice in 2019), who has a child sex conviction and faces other unresolved assault allegations
‘When Roman Polanski invites you to join him in any project you really don’t say no,’ said Kate Winslet, who starred in 2011’s ‘Carnage’.
But the mood shifted in the MeToo era.
His best director win at the French Cesar Awards in 2020 for ‘An Officer and a Spy’ triggered protests inside and outside the venue, and led the entire academy to resign.
By then, more allegations had surfaced from women who said Polanski raped them when they were minors, claims he denied.
The Venice Film festival also saw the dark side of Elvis Presley with Sofia Coppola’s well-received biopic of the rocker’s wife, ‘Priscilla’.
There were strong reviews, though many said it made disturbing viewing, showing Elvis wooing a 14-year-old when he was 24 – ‘an insecure narcissist fixated on a teenage girl and unwilling to allow his young wife any independence,’ according to The Independent.
Priscilla herself told reporters ‘Sofia did an amazing job’, but added: ‘It’s very difficult to sit and watch a film about you, about your life and your love.’
She defended their relationship, saying they ‘never had sex’ when they were first together during Elvis’s military service in Germany. ‘He was very kind, very soft, very loving, but he also respected the fact that I was 14-years-old,’ she said.
Coppola won the top prize Golden Lion in Venice in 2010 for ‘Somewhere’ – controversially awarded by her ex-boyfriend, Quentin Tarantino.
Her new film stars Cailee Spaeny (‘Mare of Easttown’) as Priscilla, and Jacob Elordi, famous as the heartthrob in Netflix show ‘Euphoria’, as the rock’n’roll legend.
It is understood Allen and Previn developed a close relationship in 1991, and in 1992, Mia Farrow says she found nude photographs of her in Allen’s home. Allen and Soon-Yi, who have a 35-year age difference, are still married and have two adopted daughters
There are 23 films competing for the Golden Lion, to be announced on Saturday.
Frontrunners include ‘Poor Things’, with Emma Stone as a sexually voracious reanimated corpse, and ‘Maestro’, in which Bradley Cooper transforms into legendary conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein.
David Fincher’s ‘The Killer’, starring Michael Fassbender as a cold-blooded assassin losing control, and Michael Mann biopic ‘Ferrari’, were also well-received by critics.
Many of the stars have been unable to attend the festival due to strikes by Hollywood actors and writers, primarily over pay in the streaming era and the threat of AI.
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