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Judith Godrèche's powerful speech blows away the 2024 Césars

Judith Godrèche on stage at the Olympia during the 49th César ceremony, Friday February 23, 2024.
STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP

On the César stage, Judith Godrèche delivered a poignant speech on her experience as a young girl abused by directors, triggering a long standing ovation from the audience at the Olympia.

His speech at the ceremony was announced a few days ago. No one could imagine the force of the words Judith Godrèche said during the César evening. After a long cheer on stage upon her arrival, the actress delivered a powerful text that blew the entire room away. “In my rebellion I thought of these terms that we use on set: “silence”, “engine requested”. Silence has been my driving force for thirty years now. Yet I imagine the incredible melody that we could compose together, made of truths.”

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In her black ensemble, the 51-year-old actress' voice was sometimes broken with emotion. Judith Godrèche knows what she is talking about. Last December, she shook up the world of the 7th art by publicly accusing the director Benoît Jacquot, with whom she was in a relationship when she was 15 and he was 40, of physical and sexual violence. In February, she then filed a complaint against him. “For some time now, words have been loosening,” she declared, before asking: “The image of our idealized fathers is being eroded. But shouldn’t we face the truth? (…) For some time now, I have been speaking but I cannot hear you, or barely. Where are you, what do you say? A whisper, half a word, that would be enough. I know it's scary, I'm scared too. I left school at 15, I don't have the baccalaureate, nothing. It would be complicated to be blacklisted from everything.”

“Silent gazes”

“It’s complicated to find myself in front of all of you this evening,” she began when arriving on stage. Many of you have seen me grow up, it's impressive, it makes a mark. Basically, I have known nothing other than cinema.” This is one of the aspects that the actress regularly returns to in her media interventions. The people around her knew. But “it wouldn’t hurt,” she promised. Just scratches on the carcass of our curious family. It's so nothing compared to a punch in the nose, to a child being stormed like a city under siege. By an all-powerful adult under the silent gaze of a team, to a director who, while whispering, lures me onto his bed under the pretext of getting to know who I really am. It's so nothing compared to 45 takes, with two disgusting hands on my 15 year old breasts.

“We are at the dawn of a new day”

The one who was silent for almost thirty years shared a message of hope with the audience. “We are at the dawn of a new day,” she smiled. As proof, the latter ended her speech by recalling the 2000 testimonies received in four days alone, from young girls who had the same experience as her with older men. However, she assured, “to believe yourself, you still have to be believed”. And to make things happen, you still need to have the courage “to say out loud what everyone is thinking.” A courage saluted by a standing ovation from the public present at the Olympia.

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Written by ezzeddif

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