How Judith Godrèche is Calling Out the French Film Industry

How Judith Godrèche is Calling Out the French Film Industry

You may have seen the name Judith Godrèche a lot in recent months and there’s a reason for that: she is the woman who has been causing a stir by speaking out about sexual abuse within the French film industry.

In February this year, she filed police complaints of sexual assault against two directors, Jacques Doillon and Benoît Jacquot, with whom she had a long-term relationship starting when she was 14 and he was 40. And at the César Awards the same month, she gave a speech on sexual violence, saying there was an “omertà” in France surrounding the #MeToo movement. “With the same moral strength that we use to be creative, let’s have the courage to say out loud what we know quietly,” she urged a hushed audience.

To add further fuel to the fire, Godrèche is the writer, director and star of a hit new autobiographical TV show called Icon of French Cinema, which shows a 14-year-old actress being groomed by a famous director. While it is actually a (albeit surreal) comedy – our heroine ends up playing a singing hamster – it deals with the serious issues surrounding sexual abuse in the film industry. Godrèche says she felt compelled to make it as her own daughter, also an actress and dancer, is 15 and she wanted to protect the next generation. “We can get caught in the nets of a more powerful person and art is an extremely favourable springboard to that,” she said. “As an actress, you need to be loved and looked at.”

With a career spanning 40 years and more than 30 films under her belt, Godrèche is a talented and well-respected figure in French cinema. She was born in Paris’ 17th arrondissement in 1972 to a psychoanalyst father and therapist mother, who were Holocaust survivors from Poland and Russia.

She won her first film role in 1985’s L’été prochain, directed by Nadine Trintignant. By 1987 she had left school and moved away from home and was in a relationship with Jacquot, who would direct her in three movies between 1987 and 1992.

It was her 1989 appearance in Jacques Doillon’s La fille de 15 ans which catapulted her to fame in France. Anglophone audiences will know her from her appearance alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Jeremy Irons in Randall Wallace’s directorial debut, The Man in the Iron Mask (1998).

Judith Godrèche 10-second CV

Name: Judith Godrèche

Born: March 23, 1972, in Paris

Early career: She started early at just 14, with a role in L’été prochain, directed by Nadine Trintignant.

I know the face…

Get your 90s groove on and revisit 1998’s sumptuous telling of The Man in the Iron Mask, a star-studded extravaganza featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich, Gérard Depardieu and Gabriel Byrne. Godrèche plays Christine Bellefort.

Where shall we see her next?

Icon of French Cinema tells the tale of a French actress who returns to France hoping to make her cinematic comeback after a long stint in LA only to find she is largely forgotten. Laced with humour it handles the difficult issue of sex abuse in the film industry.

C’est pas vrai!

In 1994, Godrèche published a novel, Point de côté, inspired by her relationship with Benoît Jacquot. It’s about to be reissued by Flammarion.

From France Today Magazine

Lead photo credit : Picture: Paul Smith / Featureflash

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