Protest-dressing on the red carpet has crossed the pond. Following the last Golden Globes where more than 300 Hollywood figures including Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon and Natalie Portman were seen wearing black outfits to protest against sexist abuse and sexual violence towards women, French cinema has also initiated its own campaign backed by a special dress code accessory to wear during the Cesar ceremony, the annual event awarding the best French movie productions of the year.
Singer and actress Vanessa Paradis, host of the ceremony, launched this campaign called #MaintenantOnAgit (Now We Act) based on the American version Time’s up, which aims to raise funds given to associations offering legal support to women victims of gender-based or sexual violence. The 1,700 guests attending this 43rd edition of the César are invited to wear a white ribbon, which will be distributed in front of Salle Pleyel in Paris but not compulsory. The operation follows a call for donations launched this week by a hundred French powerful female personalities including Clemence Poésy, Inna Modja, Vanessa Paradis and Julie Gayet.
Although the Weinstein revelations shockwaves are still being felt throughout Hollywood and beyond, no similar scandal have been reported in France lately - at least not one stating any names. A few actresses such as Juliette Binoche, Mélanie Laurent and Marion Cotillard have mentioned episodes of sexist harassment and potential threatening situations in their careers but nothing like in the US where stars of the system such as Kevin Spacey, James Toback, Brett Rattner, Dustin Hoffman and Woody Allen have been publicly accused or taken down. Neither has been the protest-dressing on the red carpet a trend in France.
Of course, this apparent lack of turmoil doesn't mean all is good in a perfect world. Out of the 8 nominees for the best director - the most coveted award of the evening - there is only one woman: Julia Ducourneau and her movie Grave. Throughout history only one woman has ever managed to win this particular award. It was Tonie Marshall for Vénus Beauté in 2000.