“I looked at this man as a father figure”, declares Judith Godrèche about Benoît Jacquot whom she accuses of sexual violence

The actress filed a complaint against the director on Tuesday February 6 for rape of a minor. She denounces events that took place when she was a teenager.



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Actress Judith Godrèche, guest of France Inter on Thursday February 8.  (FRANCE INTER/RADIO FRANCE)

“I looked at this man as a father figure, as the authority on set”, actress Judith Godrèche told France Inter on Thursday February 8 about Benoît Jacquot, against whom she filed a complaint on Tuesday February 6 for rape of a minor. The Paris prosecutor’s office announced on Wednesday February 7 the opening of a preliminary investigation.

The relationship between the actress and the filmmaker 25 years her senior began when she was 14 years old. Now aged 51, Judith Godrèche tries to remember a “time when [elle a] looked at this man and said to himself that[elle] wanted to go out with him, he was handsome”but she says she doesn’t have it “Never” feeling. “I was never attracted to Benoît Jacquot but I found myself with him”, she insists. The actress explains that she “found in his bed, to be his wife, his little wife, his child-wife”.

A relationship of control where “everything is sacred”

Judith Godrèche describes Benoît Jacquot as a man “who spoke in long, definitive sentences, who spoke to you about yourself as if you had never been seen before, as if you were born through the remarks he made about your beauty, the books he gave you, the films that he showed you”. It testifies to a “psychic construction which is reconstructed through his eyes, as if he were creating a portrait of a girl, of a child, which will become yours”. The actress describes the controlling relationship that develops with the filmmaker of “insidious way”. She thus compares Benoît Jacquot to “wolf who disguised himself as grandmother in Little Red Riding Hood”. “It’s like someone who goes behind your back with a plan, a vision of what he wants (…) and who throws a big black sheet over your head”, she specifies. According to her, the filmmaker sets rules for her on the way she dresses, on the length of her hair and even on her food. “Everything is sacred, everything is a fetish”remembers the actress.

She also explains that Benoît Jacquot “creates a system of lack”pushing her to feel “completely dependent”. “He stages absences, he invents a whole past” and in particular relationships with Ava Gardner, Isabelle Adjani and even Anna Karina, relates the actress. She then has the impression of “meeting someone who was best friends with all my favorite writers, who had slept with all my favorite actresses”. “It was like a hand that closes around your heart, that squeezes and from which it is impossible to free yourself”she laments, her voice trembling.

“It would have taken an adult army”

Judith Godrèche confides that she had “fear” to deviate from the rules set for him by the filmmaker, explaining that he “good reasons”. She thus assures that he was telling “having killed someone, that he had a gun” his home. “At first I was so docile, completely indoctrinated”, she remembers. Judith Godrèche compares her situation to that of a person who would have joined “a sect” : “I was completely following my guru’s rules.” The actress says that if at the beginning she “had no reason to be afraid”has “from the moment when [elle a] began to express desires, wishes that did not correspond to the rules”the situation has become “terrifying”. She mentions “physical violence” and “shots” which are intensifying, “more [elle] asks for freedom, more [elle se] revolt”. The actress also says she was the victim of “immediate sexual abuse and sexual sadism” from Benoît Jacquot.

Judith Godrèche believes that “to resist that, it would have taken an army of adults“, but specifies that its “parents had no place in it”. She wonders if they “could have fought”and considers that in their place she “would have done it”.

Electroshocks Vanessa Springora and Harvey Weinstein

The actress also returns to what motivated her to file a complaint against Benoît Jacquot on Tuesday February 6, decades later. She details what “long journey” which took him several years. Judith Godrèche, for example, evokes the role of the book release The consent by Vanessa Springora (2020, Grasset editions). “I start reading it, and I can’t.” finish it, she confesses. At the time, she felt a “desire to not want to look at one’s past and one’s childhood as something that would be of the order of trauma”a certain impossibility of “live as a victim”.

Judith Godrèche also insists on the role that the Harvey Weinstein affair may have played in her progress, in 2017. While she lives in Los Angeles, “the New York prosecutor” comes to see her and asks her “to talk about this attempted rape”. At the end of this interview, the prosecutor lets her know that she wants her “testimony on the stand”, which Judith Godrèche refuses. The actress fears having the posture of “bad victim” precisely because of her relationship with Benoît Jacquot when she was a teenager. She then does not feel justified in speaking, as if it were “a bad girl, a bad victim or even worse, someone who is okay to abuse again”.

Judith Godrèche fears that she is not the only one to have been a victim of such violence. “I think it and I know it”, she maintains. The actress also confides feeling “a little responsible” and describes, with a lot of emotion in his voice, a feeling of guilt. She thus explains having received many testimonies from women who, while they “were very young girls”found themselves in a similar situation, “picked up by a 40 year old man”. These women confided to Judith Godrèche that they had a “glamorous image” of his relationship with Benoît Jacquot. “The fact that it had consequences on women other than me is not something I am proud of”she laments.

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