It has been six years since Woody Allen had a film released in the United States, but the Venice Film Festival was still eager to roll out the red carpet for the 87-year-old director’s latest effort. However, not everyone there welcomed the filmmaker with open arms.
On Monday, his new film, “Coup de Chance,” debuted in Venice and earned the several-minute standing ovation that’s customary at most festival premieres. Outside the screening, though, protesters reportedly took off their shirts and handed out sheets of paper urging the festival to “turn the spotlight off of rapists.”
Allen, who has, for decades, denied sexual abuse accusations by his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow, is not the only director at Venice amid controversy. Earlier this week, the festival premiered “Dogman” from Luc Besson, who was accused of sexual assault but cleared by prosecutors in 2019, as well as “The Palace” from Roman Polanski, who was convicted in 1977 of unlawful sex with a minor but fled the U.S. before he could be sentenced.
“Coup de Chance” is Allen’s 50th film and his first French-language effort. Starring Lou de Laâge and Melvil Poupaud, it’s a Paris-set dramatic thriller about a married woman who reconnects with an old flame, which drives her possessive husband to thoughts of murder.
The Variety critic Owen Gleiberman called “Coup de Chance” Allen’s best film since “Blue Jasmine” in 2013, but like his last two films, “Rifkin’s Festival” and “A Rainy Day in New York,” it currently has no U.S. distribution. The last Allen film to be released stateside was the 2017 drama “Wonder Wheel,” starring Kate Winslet.
In an interview with Variety this week, Allen was asked again about the Dylan Farrow allegations. “My reaction has always been the same,” he replied. “The situation has been investigated by two people, two major bodies, not people, but two major investigative bodies. And both, after long detailed investigations, concluded there was no merit to these charges.”
In the same interview, Allen intimated that he had considered retiring after “Coup de Chance,” since he no longer wants to go through the process of raising money to finance his films. Still, he noted: “I don’t know what it means to be canceled. I know that over the years everything has been the same for me. I make my movies.”