Roman Polanski c Georges Biard

The French film industry’s attitude towards sexual abuse and gender equality was in the spotlight like never before as Roman Polanski was feted with best director for An Officer And A Spy (J’Accuse) at the César awards on Friday night.

The ceremony at the Salle Pleyel concert hall in central Paris was a fractious, politically-charged event.

It took place just days after César Academy president Alain Terzian and the entire board of the association overseeing the awards resigned amid criticism over a lack of transparency, gender equality and diversity at the body. 

Outside, hundreds of female activists picketed the venue for much of the day and then clashed with police as the 1,700 celebrity guests started arriving on the red carpet.

Inside, the air of unease was palpable as French comedian and actress Florence Foresti, who was the evening’s mistress of ceremonies, at once navigated and took aim at the biggest…

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