Polanski wins Cesar Award for best director, prompting walkout protest

Polanski, 86, whose film also picked up awards for best adaptation and best costume designer, stayed away from the event, saying he feared he would be lynched.

Film director Roman Polanski, Madeleine Church for ‘popular tribute’ to late French singer and actor Johnny Hallyday in Paris, 2017. Roman Polanski cast a shadow over France’s Cesar Awards on Friday even as he won best directing for his film “An Officer and a Spy,” with several women in the audience walking out in protest at honoring a man facing rape accusations.The French-Polish director’s dozen nominations had divided opinion in France, a country where the #MeToo movement that inspired women globally to out powerful men for sexual misconduct has struggled to gain traction.Polanski, 86, whose film also picked up awards for best adaptation and best costume designer, stayed away from the event, saying he feared he would be lynched.Controversy had swirled around the inclusion in the awards program of Polanski, who fled the United States for France in the late 1970s after admitting raping a 13-year-old girl, and faces more recent allegations of sexual assault.Polanski denies the latest accusations against him.During the ceremony, the biggest night on the French cinema calendar, Polanski served as both lightning rod and punch line, with the ceremony’s host quipping about pedophilia.”It is the last (event) of one era and the first of another,” actress Sandrine Kiberlain said.

Among those who left the venue early was leading actress Adele Haenel, who last year revealed she had been […]

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