February 17, 2018 / 7:27 PM / 2 years ago

French star Isabelle Huppert glad women are speaking up about harassment

BERLIN (Reuters) - French actress Isabelle Huppert said on Saturday she was pleased that women were speaking up about their experiences of sexual abuse and harassment after staying silent for so long.

Actress Isabelle Huppert attends a news conference to promote the movie Eva at the 68th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin, Germany, February 17, 2018. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

Huppert, who has starred in more than 100 films, was speaking at the Berlin film festival, where a movie called “Eva” in which she plays a high-class prostitute is premiering.

There is a growing debate on sexual harassment driven by the #MeToo movement on social media and Time’s Up, launched by more than 300 Hollywood industry figures in January in response to sexual assault and harassment allegations against powerful men in entertainment, politics and other fields.

“I have looked on everything that has happened with this movement with a lot of sympathy and hope because it’s so long that all this stuff should have been said and it finally has been said for the last few months,” Huppert said.

“And that’s been one of the reasons why I’ve been doing cinema - to speak of women in a certain way - and personally speaking I’m very happy that some things have finally been brought out into the open, definitively I hope,” she added.

French actress Catherine Deneuve and 99 other French women signed a column in Le Monde in January saying the #MeToo campaign had gone too far and was fueled by a “hatred of men”.

But the movement is in the limelight at this year’s Berlinale - several discussion events are being held, guests can visit a counseling corner, and festival director Dieter Kosslick has said some films were cut from the program due to sexual abuse allegations against people involved.

On Saturday, European film industry workers launched a campaign called “Speak Up!” to try to put an end to sexual harassment and abuse being tolerated in workplaces.

It encourages people to point out incidents of sexism, harassment and abuse of power and wants to ensure businesses know what inappropriate behavior and sexual misconduct is.

“Eva” is one of 19 films competing for the Berlinale’s Golden and Silver Bears to be handed out on Feb. 24.

Directed by Benoit Jacquot, it tells the story of young man called Bertrand who shoots to fame with a manuscript he stole from a dead writer.

Bertrand is under pressure to write a second piece that will enjoy the same kind of success so when he meets the attractive yet distant Eva he begins transcribing their conversations to form the basis of his next literary work.

Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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