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‘Blue Is the Warmest Color’ Director Accused of Sexual Assault

A 29-year-old actress alleges that Abdellatif Kechiche sexually assaulted her at a dinner party in Paris this year.

by Sirin Kale
Nov 2 2018, 1:15pm

Left to right: A scene from Blue Is the Warmest Color and Abdellatif Kechiche. Photo of Kechiche via Wikimedia Commons

Abdellatif Kechiche, the director of Blue Is the Warmest Color, is being investigated by the French authorities for sexual assault. The French television network BFM-TV reports that Kechiche has been accused of sexually assaulting a 29-year-old actress. The woman's identity has not been disclosed.

She alleges that the assault took place in June this year after she was at a dinner party with Kechiche and another friend in Paris. She claims that she blacked out after drinking several glasses of alcohol and woke up on the sofa to find her pants unzipped and Keniche sexually assaulting her. The New York Times reports that prosecutors in Paris are now investigating her allegations. Kechiche’s lawyer told BFM-TV that the director "categorically denies the accusations."

Keniche, 57, is a director and scriptwriter best known for directing the Palme D’Or-winning movie Blue Is the Warmest Color. The 2013 film centers on the love affair between two young French women, played by Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos.

Although it was widely critically acclaimed, the film attracted controversy after Seydoux and Exarchopoulos said that Kechiche as a demanding and coercive director. In particular, they criticized Kechiche’s handling of a pivotal sex scene in the film, which took hundreds of takes and ten days to shoot.

“Most people don’t even dare to ask the things that he did, and they’re more respectful—you get reassured during sex scenes, and they’re choreographed, which desexualizes the act,” Exarchopoulos told the Daily Beast in 2013.

Seydoux also told press that her experiences on the film were "horrible." Both actresses said they would never want to work with Kechiche again.

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In response to Seydoux's comments, Kechiche told Telerama that she "did not take into consideration the disastrous effect of her comments" on the film and his directing.

Earlier this year, Seydoux revisited her experiences on the film in an interview with Elle magazine. She said that their experiences of being mistreated by Kechiche on the Blue Is the Warmest Color set would likely be taken much more seriously in today’s post-Me Too landscape. “Nothing justifies torturing people, and it did not make the film better. I think that today our testimony, mine and Adèle’s, would be received with more good will.”