Strauss-Kahn Sues Over Depardieu Sex Film
Former International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is suing the makers of a film starring Gerard Depardieu.
Welcome to New York is about a sex addict who sexually assaults a hotel maid.
The movie - which had a private screening on the sidelines of the Cannes Film Festival at the weekend and has been on pay-per-view in France - is billed as a piece of fiction and comes with a legal disclaimer.
But Strauss-Kahn's lawyer said the film was defamatory because the subject matter is similar to the accusations that he assaulted a hotel maid in New York.
He quit the Washington-based IMF in 2011 and a civil case was settled after criminal charges were dropped.
"This happened three years ago and he was cleared," Strauss-Kahn's lawyer Jean Veil told Europe 1 radio on Monday.
"He is frightened, sickened (by the film). He has instructed his lawyers, myself, to make a complaint for defamation based on accusations of rape, on the insinuations made throughout this film."
Interviewed by Reuters in Cannes, film-maker Abel Ferrara said his work was fiction and that he had the right to choose his subjects.
"I'm not on trial," he said.
"I'm an artist, I have freedom of speech. I'm from America, I'm from the country of the free, land of the free and home of the brave."
The film begins with an extended sex-party scene before the encounter between the main character, George Devereau played by Depardieu, and a maid.
Reporters at the screening were handed a gift bag containing condoms and Viagra.
Trade publication Variety called the film in a review "a sure-fire scandal-starter in France" and said the "audacious performance (from Depardieu) is undeniably the picture's chief selling point".
Films that are not competing in the official 12-day film festival at Cannes often hold screenings nonetheless in order to gain publicity.
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