French actress Judith Godrèche accuses directors of historical abuse

Judith Godrèche attends the 2020 Sundance Film Festival - "The Climb" Premiere at The Ray on January 26, 2020 in Park City, Utah
Judith Godrèche

French prosecutors have opened a preliminary investigation after actress Judith Godrèche filed a complaint against film director Benoît Jacquot accusing him of historical rape.

Ms Godrèche, 51, accuses Mr Jacquot, 77, of raping her when she was 14 in 1986 and of subsequent offences in a relationship lasting into the 1990s.

The complaint was lodged on Tuesday, her lawyer told AFP news agency.

Mr Jacquot has said he "firmly" denies her "allegations and accusations".

Speaking on French radio on Thursday, Ms Godrèche also made allegations about another well known French director, Jacques Doillon, that date back to when she was 15. He too has vehemently denied the actress's accusations, according to his lawyer.

In the early part of her career, Ms Godrèche was known for her roles in two films made by Benoît Jacquot, The Beggars (1987) and The Disenchanted (1990).

Benoît Jacquot has been directing films since the mid-1970s with his 2012 drama Farewell, My Queen opening the 62nd annual Berlin International Film Festival.

Judith Godrèche has gone on to make numerous films of which The Overnight (2015), The Spanish Apartment (2002) and The Man in the Iron Mask (1998) are some of the best known.

She had recently spoken of her relationship with Benoît Jacquot, without referring to him by name, in an autobiographical TV show called Icon of French Cinema.

Last month she named him on social media, saying she had decided to do so after viewing a documentary from 2011 in which the director had talked about his relationship with an adolescent.

Interviewed by Le Monde newspaper, Mr Jacquot said he "firmly denies the allegations and accusations of Judith Godrèche".

Contacted by AFP on Wednesday, he let it be known that he stood by his words in the newspaper and did not wish to react any further.

Ms Godrèche made further allegations during a France Inter radio interview on Thursday morning in which she spoke of an intimate scene during filming for Jacques Doillon's 1989 film The 15 Year Old Girl.

She alleged she had been abused first in the house Doillon shared with Jane Birkin and then on the film set, during a sex scene.

"He hired an actor, we started filming and he fired him and he took over the role," she explained

"I'm shirtless and he's groping me, and he's making out with me, and there's Jane behind the combo display and it's an extremely painful situation for her."

Jacques Doillon's lawyer Marie Dosé told AFP he had found out about the allegations via the press: "He refutes them forcefully and is eager to give his own account in court."

The complaints against both directors have been handed to the Juvenile Protection Brigade in Paris, according to the public prosecutor.

Benoît Jacquot
Benoît Jacquot