French director Catherine Corsini’s film Le Retour (The Return) has been struck out of the competition at Cannes film festival. The French director’s slot is reportedly still on hold and came to light after several allegations were made against Corsini for her behaviour during Le Retour’s filming. While Corsini has been accused by some crew members of harassment, some crew members have been accused of allegedly committing indecent acts against the two female actors in Le Retour. The film's producer has issued a comment calling the allegations "malevolent".
As per a report in Variety, Cannes Film Festival chief Thierry Fremaux said to the director that she will still have her competition slot. However, the announcement for the subsequent day came with the administration opting to hold off the film from the Cannes competition line-up. Fremaux told the outlet that the administration wants to look further into the allegations before giving a verdict on the film’s official selection.
“Administration board wished to gather more information about the situation around the film before taking a decision on whether to include the film in its Official Selection,” said Thierry Fremaux. Moreover, the film’s producer Elisabeth Perez told the outlet that the allegations are “malevolent,” and should not be the deciding factor in “the life or death of a film". She further said that the allegations should not dictate whether the film is selected for Cannes.
Several reports from French media publications point out specific issues with the film. One incident happened involving CCHSCT, an organisation aimed towards preventing harassment, sexism and violence during shoots. The organisation started auditing the film and signalled the general attorney following complaints. Furthermore, National Film Centre reports that the government organisation, Commission des Enfants du Spectacle, removed its subsidies from the film’s production after a sex scene featuring the film’s 15-year-old female lead actor was shot without any consent or approval from the organisation.
Le Retour is based around a woman named Kheìdidja who works with a wealthy family to take care of the children. The job opens up the possibility for her to take her children and go back to their original island. However, revisiting the island would mean confronting the tragic circumstances that led them to flee in 15 years ago in the first place. Catherine Corsini was slated to be the seventh female director in the 72nd Cannes Film Festival competition, but the allegations have set her back.