There wouldn’t be a time, day, or place where we would ever condone a rape joke. But the one which Larent Lafitte used at the premiere of Woody Allen’s Café Society at the Cannes Film Festival was spot on. It was also a ballsy move to discuss something that Woody has conveniently brushed off.
“You’ve shot so many of your films here in Europe and yet in the US you haven’t even been convicted of rape,” said Larent. It’s probably the first time someone was able to say something that direct to Woody, who still enjoys a certain stature in Hollywood given his films. (Although Larent says the joke was more to make fun of Americans rather than of Woody Allen.)
Just a mere two years ago his film Blue Jasmine was nominated for an Oscar, while his daughter Dylan Farrow wrote a chilling account of the abuse she suffered from Woody when she was a little kid.
Celebrities like Kristen Stewart and Scarlett Johanssen conviniently brush off the allegations, insisting that they don’t really know Woody as the man who his own adoptive children, Dylan and Ronan, paint as a perverted demon, but as the brilliant director they are honored to work with.
We’ve already looked over the very creepy fact that Woody left Mia Farrow for her adoptive daughter, Soon-Yi. The man marries the daughter of his wife (which also makes her his daughter) and we’re okay with it for some reason because they don’t share the same DNA. As if the only issue we have to worry about when it comes to incest is the offspring that will come from union.
We’ve conviently ignored the cries of Dylan, who pleaded directly to the actors Woody has worked with and the institutions who have bestowed honors on him. The man walks about freely and pretends to be deaf when confronted with his plotlines that involve an older man and a younger woman. And if Dylan’s story isn’t enough, listen to how her brother Ronan tells us about what it’s like to live in a world where your sister’s abuser is praised all over the world.
We talk about Annie Hall for its landmark contribution to cinema and even to fashion but we don’t talk about the effects of letting someone like Woody stay in his own little, eccentric bubble while others seek for justice.
What will it take then for people to at least listen up? To at least acknowlege that hey, something might be wrong with Woody Allen. Hey, not addressing the issues thrown at you isn’t cool. What would it take? Thirty five women coming out in a magazine? Actual footage of rape and sexual abuse?
Are we so scared to lose an icon that we sweep all his flaws under the rug and pretend that they don’t exist?
What’s creepier, and perhaps more sickening is how Hollywood, doesn’t want to get involved. It champions just the good traits of its members and conviently glosses over their mistakes.
It insists that they can’t deprive Woody Allen his right to make and showcase films because he hasn’t been convicted of anything. Yes, that is fair to Woody and given how legal action can be taken up by Dylan, but must serious allegations, be just dismissed as silly?
Here’s an idea then: If we stop Woody Allen from doing what he loves to do, making films as a consequence of his actions, then maybe he’ll start taking them seriously.
For once, let the man truly fight for his art, if it’s truly something he deserves to be lauded for.
Art by Dorothy Guya