Fashion and Style

France Offers Support for Woody Allen, Johnny Depp and Louis C.K.

Woody Allen has described his new movie, “Coup de Chance,” as a “poisonous romantic thriller.” It made its debut at the Venice International Film Festival on Monday, and will be released on Sept. 27. But American moviegoers won’t be able to see it in theaters unless they happen to be visiting, say, Paris or Marseille.

Like his last two films, “Coup de Chance” — a French production, in French, with a French cast — will not be distributed in theaters in the United States. Mr. Allen’s last deal with an American company came to an end in 2018, when Amazon cut ties with the filmmaker amid a renewed focus on accusations that he had molested his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow.

Mr. Allen has repeatedly denied those accusations and continued to work. He shot “Coup de Chance” in and around Paris, where he has found a major production company willing to work with him.

France has long provided a haven for American artists fleeing racism or political persecution, including Josephine Baker, who was embraced by Parisian audiences in the 1920s, and the film director Jules Dassin, who found work in French cinema after being blacklisted by Hollywood during the McCarthy era of the 1950s.

But lately France has given a warm reception to people who fall into an altogether different category: men who have been accused of sexual abuse, sexual misconduct or domestic abuse.

Louis C.K. was doing stand-up in Paris to roars of laughter in 2018, months after several women said he had masturbated in front of them. (“These stories are true,” he said in response to the women’s accusations.) He went on to appear in a French TV series, “La meilleure version de moi-même” (“The Best Version of Myself”), which was directed by Blanche Gardin, a French comedian and filmmaker who became his girlfriend. Louis C.K. and Ms. Gardin, who are no longer together, also made a podcast about their relationship.

In the United States, Louis C.K. has not appeared on network talk shows or made films or television shows for major entertainment companies since the accusations were made against him, but he has continued to receive support from his die-hard fans. In January, he gave a sold-out performance at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Johnny Depp has been more or less unemployable at major Hollywood studios since his ex-wife Amber Heard accused him of physical and sexual abuse in a 2018 opinion article in The Washington Post. Disney canceled a $22.5 million deal for Mr. Depp to appear in a new installment of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, according to his manager, but a French company, Why Not Productions, hired him to star in a costume drama, “Jeanne du Barry.”

And while Ms. Frappat said she had “never questioned” Dylan Farrow’s allegations of sexual abuse against Mr. Allen, she noted, “I continue to love his work, in a kind of conscious and difficult split.”

That ambivalence was on display in Venice: Mr. Allen received a standing ovation for “Coup de Chance,” while, outside the theater, protesters held signs asking festival programmers to “turn the spotlight off of rapists.”

As for Louis C.K., Ms. Gardin viewed him as someone who was skilled at turning one’s baser instincts into art, like Rimbaud. In his standup, Ms. Gardin has said, Louis C.K. “explored his dark side, his perversions, and deciphered the darkness of the human soul.”

There is perhaps another factor that continues to make these men appealing to French audiences: They come from a land that many are exposed to mainly through pop culture imagery, and therefore can seem a bit unreal.

“For a lot of Europeans, the U.S. is a semi-fictional place,” Mr. Robb said. “That plays into the comparatively welcoming treatment of people like Johnny Depp. The actions of an actor are, to some extent, things that are going on in a half-fictional world.”

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