Actress Adèle Haenel delivered Monday to Mediapart a very strong testimony on “touching” and “sexual harassment” she claims to have suffered from Christophe Ruggia when she was between 12 and 15 years old. The Paris prosecutor's office opened Wednesday an investigation for “sexual assault on a minor of 15 years per person with authority” and “sexual harassment.”
This testimony, first in France since the breakup of #MeToo, shook French cinema and could mark a turning point, breaking the omerta around these issues in the middle in France.
The Chaâba's gone
The name of Christophe Ruggia, who recognizes “an involuntary grip of the adult director” but categorically refutes “the facts, has returned to the front of the stage.The director, little known to the general public, was revealed in 1998, with his first film, The Chaâba's gone, hailed by the critics and nominated to the César in the category “Best first film”. The feature film is based on Azouz Begag's autobiographical novel, which grew up in a Villeurbanne slum and became a researcher at the CNRS – he will later become Minister Delegate for the Promotion of Equal Opportunities from 2005 to 2007.
Christophe Ruggia has made only two other films, including Devils, in 2002, with Adele Hanel and Vincent Rottiers then teenagers. They camp there two young orphans. His third film, with Clovis Cornillac, Mathilde Seigner and Yvan Attal, entitled In the tournament, was released in 2011.
Very committed, the filmmaker of 54 years, mobilized alongside other artists like Josiane Balasko, Costa-Gavras, Agnès Jaoui, Robert Guédiguian, or Jeanne Balibar with Roma expelled to Montreuil, but also refugees from the Jungle of Calais.
He is also a member of the Society of Film Directors (SRF), a professional association of filmmakers with some 300 members and who organizes the Directors' Fortnight in Cannes. The SRF is co-chaired by directors Bertrand Bonello, Catherine Corsini and Aude Léa Rapin. Christophe Ruggia was himself co-president and vice president on several occasions between 2003 and 2019.
“Today we launched the process of striking Christophe Ruggia out of the SRF,” the association said on Monday.