“Silence has been my driving force for 30 years”: Judith Godrèche’s powerful speech at the 2024 César Awards

On the occasion of the 49th César ceremony, director and actress Judith Godrèche took the stage at the Olympia to denounce sexual violence in the film industry.


It was first through her series, Icon of French Cinema – broadcast on Arte – that director and actress Judith Godrèche came out of silence to return to her former relationship with filmmaker Benoît Jacquot. She was 14, he was 39.

After a first speech, where she expressed the influence of which she was the victim, Judith Godrèche continued to broadcast her story through the radio, in newspapers and on television.

The one who gave new life to the MeToo movement in France subsequently accused Jacques Doillon on the airwaves of France Inter for similar violence. Judith Godrèche has decided to file a complaint against Benoît Jacquot and Jacques Doillon – the latter attacks her in return for “defamation“.

On the stage of the 49th César ceremony, this Friday February 23, 2024, the director spoke in front of the entire French film industry:

Here is his speech:

It’s complicated to find myself in front of all of you this evening. There are so many of you. But deep down, I guess it had to happen. Our faces face to face, eye to eye. Many of you have seen me grow up. It’s impressive. It marks. Basically, I have known nothing other than cinema.

So to reassure myself along the way, I invented a little lullaby. My tight arms are you. All the little girls in silence. My neck, my bent neck. It’s you. All the children in silence. My legs are wobbly. It’s you, the young men who couldn’t defend yourselves. My mouth trembling but also smiling. It’s you. My unknown sisters. After all, I too am a crowd, a crowd in front of you. A crowd looking you in the eye tonight.

Yet I imagine the incredible melody that we could compose together, made of truths. It wouldn’t hurt, I promise. Just a scratch on the carcass of our curious family. It’s so nothing compared to a punch in the nose, to a child being stormed like a city under siege by an all-powerful adult under the silent gaze of a team. A director who, while whispering, drags me to his bed under the pretext of having to understand who I really am. This is so nothing compared to 45 takes with two disgusting hands on my fifteen year old tits.

Cinema is made of our desire for truth. Films watch us as much as we watch them. It is also made of our need for humanity, right? So why ? Why accept that this art that we love so much, this art that binds us, is used as a cover for illicit trafficking in young girls?

In the front of the scene

Because you know, this loneliness is mine, but it is also that of thousands in our society. And it is in your hands. We are at the forefront. At the dawn of a new day, we can decide that men accused of rape cannot dominate the cinema.

That sets the tone, as they say. We cannot ignore the truth because it is not our child, our son, our daughter. We cannot be at such a level of impunity, denial and privilege that morality goes over our heads. We must set an example too.

It’s a funny time for us, isn’t it? A ghost from the Americas who comes to kick in the armored door. Who would’ve believed that ? For some time now, words have been loosening. The idealized image of our fathers is being eroded. The power almost seems to sway.

Would it be possible that we could face the truth, take our responsibilities, be the actors and actresses of a universe that is calling itself into question? For some time now, I have been talking, I have been talking, but I can’t or barely hear you. Where are you ? What do you say ?

A whisper, half a word, that would be enough,” says Little Red Riding Hood. I know it’s scary. Losing grants, losing roles, losing your job. Me too. I’m scared too. J I stopped school at fifteen. I don’t have the baccalaureate. Nothing. It would be complicated to be blacklisted from everything, it wouldn’t be fun.

2000 testimonials

Don’t think I’m talking to you about my past, my past which doesn’t pass. My past is also the present of the 2000 people who sent me their testimonies in four days. It is also the future of all those who have not yet had the strength to become their own witness. You know, to believe yourself, you still have to be believed. The world is watching us. We travel with our films. We are lucky to be in a country where it seems that freedom exists.

So, with the same moral strength that we use to create, let us have the courage to say out loud what we know quietly. Let’s not play heroines on screen only to find ourselves hiding in the woods in real life. Let’s not grant revolutionary or humanist heroes the chance to get up in the morning knowing that a director abused a young actress and say nothing.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to put on my cape tonight and invade you a little. You have to be wary of little girls. They hit the bottom of the pool, they bump, they get hurt but they bounce back. The little girls are punks who come back dressed as hamsters. And to dream of a possible revolution, they like to replay this dialogue from Céline and Julie going on a boat: “This time, it won’t happen like that.”

Source link -103