French comic Laurent Lafitte helped the 2016 Cannes Film Festival kick off to an awkward start — cracking a rape joke about Woody Allen, the director of the opening night gala screening “Cafe Society.”
“You’ve shot so many of your films here in Europe and yet in the U.S. you haven’t even been convicted of rape,” Lafitte told the black-tie crowd at the Grand Palais, his joke translated to English and projected on a massive screen.
The jab presumably references fellow director Roman Polanski, who has been living in exile following a 1977 L.A. County court indictment for the rape of a 13-year-old girl.
It’s been a rough promo tour for the 80-year-old director. In the process of hyping his throwback to Hollywood’s golden era, he raised eyebrows with rare comments about wife Soon-Yi Previn.
Remarking on the achievements of his wife — the adopted daughter of former Allen partner Mia Farrow — whom he married in 1997 amidst a firestorm of controversy, Allen drew contrasts between the higher education and world travel she’s enjoyed at his side with her impoverished upbringing in South Korea.
Lucky for Allen, “Cafe Society” premiered out of competition and he’s done his heavy lifting in France. The film will hit U.S. theaters on July 15, courtesy of Lionsgate.