Art - or 'poor softcore porn'?

By Updated at 2014-05-25 18:25:42 +0000

A film inspired by the life of Dominique Strauss-Kahn has drawn harsh criticism for its graphic depiction of an orgy - and has been left out in the cold at the Cannes Film Festival.

“This guy was slam-dunk going to be the president of France, and now he’s sitting on Rikers Island accused of raping a maid.” The director of Welcome to New York is not mincing his words.

Abel Ferrara (who directed 1992’s Bad Lieutenant) has said his latest movie is partly inspired by the story of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who was arrested in 2011 for the sexual assault of a maid in a Manhattan hotel. The charges were eventually dropped and a settlement reached in 2012 – but in the film, an international financier (played by Gerard Depardieu) is shown sleeping with four women and assaulting a maid the morning after.

Strauss-Kahn, who quit as head of the International Monetary Fund after his arrest, has said he will sue the film’s producers, while his ex-wife Anne Sinclair expressed her disgust and accused the movie of anti-Semitism in a piece in The Huffington Post.

Critics in France have mostly panned Welcome to New York, with Le Monde labelling it a “big sick film” and Libération calling it “poor soft porn”. While accepting the accusations are not unfounded, BBC Entertainment reporter Emma Jones claims: “the French press are too close to the story of Dominique Strauss-Kahn.”

Not officially selected for Cannes because it was not finished in time, Jones believes the film was left out for another reason. “Politically it’s far too much of a hot potato to touch here.”