Woody Allen says supports #MeToo as 50th film shows at Venice

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VENICE – After a critical mauling for Roman Polanski, there was a warmer reception at the Venice Film Festival on Monday for another blacklisted director — Woody Allen — who insisted he supported the #MeToo movement “when it’s beneficial”.

The festival also saw the dark side of Elvis Presley with Sofia Coppola’s well-received biopic of the rocker’s wife, “Priscilla”. 

But there was particular adulation for Allen’s 50th film, “Coup de Chance” (“Stroke of Luck”), underlining that he is now far more popular in Europe than the United States. 

His first movie entirely in French is a classic Allen morality tale about love, infidelity and murder. 

Most reviews called it his best work in a decade, following a weak run of films from the prolific director.

“I thought to myself: it’s my 50th film and I love Paris so much that I’ll make it in French… And then I could think I’m a genuine European filmmaker,” he told reporters.

The 87-year-old has been shunned by Hollywood since the #MeToo movement emerged, due to allegations he molested his adopted daughter in the 1990s, which he says were fabricated by his ex-partner Mia Farrow.

He told Variety that he backed #MeToo “where it does something positive.

“I read instances where it’s very beneficial… for women,” he said, but added: “When it’s silly, it’s silly.”

– ‘Cancelled himself’ –

The festival has drawn flak for including Allen and Polanski, who has a child sex conviction and faces other unresolved assault allegations, in its out-of-competition section. 

Allen’s film fared far better than Polanski’s slapstick comedy “The Palace”, which was torn to shreds by critics after its premiere on Saturday.

Coppola won the top prize Golden Lion in Venice in 2010 for “Somewhere” — controversially awarded by her ex-boyfriend, Quentin Tarantino. 

Her new film stars Cailee Spaeny (“Mare of Easttown”) as Priscilla, and Jacob Elordi, famous as the heartthrob in Netflix show “Euphoria”, as the rock’n’roll legend.

There are 23 films competing for the Golden Lion, to be announced on Saturday.

Frontrunners include “Poor Things”, with Emma Stone as a sexually voracious reanimated corpse, and “Maestro”, in which Bradley Cooper transforms into legendary conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein. 

David Fincher’s “The Killer”, starring Michael Fassbender as a cold-blooded assassin losing control, and Michael Mann biopic “Ferrari”, were also well-received by critics. 

Many of the stars have been unable to attend the festival due to strikes by Hollywood actors and writers, primarily over pay in the streaming era and the potential threat of AI. 


By Eric Randolph

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