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‘Blue Is the Warmest Color’ Director Abdellatif Kechiche Accused of Sexual Assault (Report)

Actress says she awoke to Kechiche fondling her, French news network BFMTV reports

Paris police have opened a preliminary investigation into Palme D’Or-winning filmmaker Abdellatif Kechiche, who directed “Blue Is the Warmest Color,” after an unnamed actress accused him of sexual assault, according to French news network BFMTV.

The 29-year-old actress said she dined with Kechiche at his Paris apartment and could not remember the events of the evening after drinking several glasses of alcohol, according to the report. The accuser told police that when she woke up, she was lying on a couch while Kechiche was fondling her, BFMTV reported.

Lawyers for Kechiche said in a statement that the filmmaker “categorically denies” the accusations, according to BFMTV.

Kechiche gained international fame when he claimed the top prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival for his erotic romance “Blue Is The Warmest Color.” In a first-ever move for the festival, the film’s lead stars, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux, were awarded the Palme D’Or alongside Kechiche for their performances. The film revolves around a French teenager who discovers herself during a turbulent relationship with a blue-haired painter.

But a few months later, both Exarchopoulos and Seydoux told The Daily Beast they would never work with Kechiche again. They accused him of harsh and abusive behavior while filming “Blue Is The Warmest Color,” which involved lengthy, explicit sex scenes that took 10 days to film, and were done just after she and Exarchopoulos had met.

“We spent 10 days on just that one scene,” Seydoux said. “It wasn’t like, ‘OK, today we’re going to shoot the sex scene!’ It was 10 days.”

They also said that Kechiche forced them to film dozens of takes of a single scene and forced Seydoux to slap Exarchopoulos as hard as possible during a fight scene.

“I had to push her out of a glass door and scream, ‘Now go away!'” said Seydoux. “…and [Adèle] slapped the door and cut herself and was bleeding everywhere and crying with her nose running, and then after, [Kechiche] said, ‘No, we’re not finished. We’re doing it again.'”

While the #MeToo movement has led to women throughout Hollywood and media revealing their past sexual abuse at the hands of famous men, the accusations have also spread into Europe. Kechiche is the third prominent French film star to be accused of sexual misconduct in the past year, along with “The Fifth Element” director Luc Besson and Volpi Cup winner Gerard Depardieu.