“I took Polanski’s award like a slap in the face!” : Florence Foresti looks back on the stormy 45th Cesar ceremony

In the latest issue of Télérama, Florence Foresti evokes her memories of the very stormy 45th evening of the Césars, where she officiated as mistress of ceremonies. “I had the feeling of being the violinist of the Titanic” she says…

It is an understatement to say that the 45th Cesar ceremony, which was held on February 28, 2020, was marked by strong tensions. Between a demonstration provoked by the numerous nominations for Roman Polanski and his film J’accuse, the sensational departure of Adèle Haenel, and certain actors like Lambert Wilson, who will denounce “public lynching” of the ceremony, the malaise was complete.

Wilson also returned to the speech, both committed and humorous, by Florence Foresti, mistress of ceremonies for this 45th edition: “I’m talking about people I love very much, but to dare to talk about a director in these terms… Talking about Atchoum, showing a size… And what’s more, what are we going to remember from the lives of these people compared to the enormity of Polanski’s myth? Who are these people? They are tiny.”

Interviewed in the last issue of Télérama, the actress delivers precisely her painful memories of this evening. “I had the feeling of being the violinist of the Titanic” she lets go, “Witnessing the end of a world of privilege that no longer had a reason to exist, and which continued to cling on as we were on the eve of the pandemic, already on the brink. I had a precise mission: to present a program, to cheer up the public and spectators in a terrible climate”.

She continues: “Even today, I remain convinced that this ceremony was infeasible, but that I did it well. […] I still had to show that I didn’t agree with what was happening. But I couldn’t blow up the evening either, that’s not my role.

Above all, I was convinced that in such a climate, voters would not elect Roman Polanski. I took his reward as a slap addressed to me personally. It was for the old world, a way of saying to all women: “Shut up, whores! We’re still here”. I started crying like a child.”

Florence Foresti will not return to the stage that evening. “It was the last prize, and I didn’t need to go back on stage. It would have been demago and grotesque to go there with tears in your eyes. An admission of weakness and a way of proving them right”.

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