‘J’accuse’ screenings cancelled in France after protest at Roman Polanski

Screenings of Roman Polanski’s latest movie, “J’accuse (An Officer and a Spy)” were cancelled in northern France on Sunday after a feminist group invaded a cinema following fresh allegations of sexual assault against the director.

It comes just days after a similar protest blocked a preview showing in Paris.

“We denounce the recent release of Roman Polanski’s film “J’accuse,” given that at least 12 women have accused Polanski of sexual aggression; most were children at the time of the acts described,” the “J’accusePolanski” feminist group posted on Twitter on Saturday.

The previous day, the group had invaded a screening of the movie in a cinema in Rennes, in the northern Brittany region, leading to its cancellation and that of the three screenings scheduled on Sunday.

They added that it is “scandalous that a criminal paedophile has donned Dreyfus’s story as a martyr’s cloak” and described it as “yet another slap in the face for his victims, whose numbers have grown increasingly over the past 40 years.”

The movie retraces the events leading to the Dreyfus affair — an antisemitic political scandal in 1894 France known for having led to a grave miscarriage of justice. Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish captain in the French army, was sentenced to jail for life for allegedly sharing state secrets with the German embassy in Paris.

Two years later, new evidence surfaced showing the culprit to be an entirely different man but the military authorities suppressed the evidence and cleared him in an expedited trial before heaping new charges on Dreyfus.

Famed author Emile Zola subsequently wrote an open letter, titled “J’accuse”, urging the government to reopen the Dreyfus case which served as a rallying cry for the officer’s supporters. Another trial eventually took place which again found him guilty and convicted him to a 10-year jail sentence but he was released in 1899. He was pardoned by presidential decree in 1902 and exonerated in 1906.

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