Winner of the Cannes Film Festival, Dalibor Matanic, famous Croatian director, admits to several sexual assaults

One of Croatia’s most famous directors, Dalibor Matanic, 49, admitted in a long post on Facebook, after the publication of several press articles, to having sexually assaulted several women, triggering a thunderous reaction. Croatian police have opened an investigation.

“All of this took place at times when I was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Our job is terribly stressful – but that certainly doesn’t justify my behavior.”, he wrote, after the publication of press articles reporting in particular inappropriate gestures and invitations and the sending of photos and messages of a sexual nature. Around two hundred women are said to be affected by the actions of the director, who announced that he was going to enter a detoxification center.

“According to information published in the press, these could be criminal acts”, declared police chief Antonio Gerovac, quoted by the official HINA news agency, announcing the opening of an investigation. So far, the police have not registered any complaint, he added.

“He presented himself as an ally”

Furthermore, the Zagreb Academy of Dramatic Arts, where Mr. Matanic occasionally gave classes, announced that their cooperation had “ended at the end of the winter semester” and that it would not be renewed.

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The director, awarded at Cannes in 2015 for his film Blazing sun (Un certain regard jury prize), has often used his films to criticize patriarchal culture and violence against women. “It’s a terrible shock, because he presented himself as an ally”reacted women’s rights activist Sanja Sarnavka.

Violence and sexual assault have long been considered taboo subjects in the Balkans, where patriarchal values ​​remain deeply rooted.

However, these issues have taken on greater importance in recent years following the advent of the #metoo movement and a case in neighboring Serbia where an actress accused her former drama teacher, Miroslav Aleksic, of rape, prompting protests. thousands of women to tell their own stories.

The World with AFP

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