While Thanks to God should come out in less than a month, François Ozon is facing more legal action against his film. The director has been given notice by Régine Maire, a former member of the diocese of Lyon to remove his name from the film. Indeed, it has discovered, via an article in the weekly magazine The Life , that it had not been changed in this film that borrows heavily from the case of the father Preynat, priest indicted in 2016 and placed under judicial control after he was accused of sexually abusing children until 1986, and whose trial must be held-current 2019. The French filmmaker has decided to listen to and to represent alleged victims of this member of the clergy, to the origin of the association founded in Lyon in 2015, “The free Speech”.

“I invented nothing. I used an existing hardware”

Francois Ozon, at The Cross,

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Problem, nothing has been asked Madame Mayor, that is embodied by actress Martine Erhel. “For the victims, they have used an assumed name”, regrets Me Xavier Vahramian, who said that his client has also demanded “to see the movie” before its release, to know the exact role attributed to him in Thanks to God .

The letter of formal notice left on Tuesday 29th January. “You need to see the reaction that the producer and the distributor are going to have. With digital, to change a soundtrack that’s easy”, writes Me Vahramian who denounces a “breach of enormous human rights and the presumption of innocence of his client”.

lawyers want to postpone the release of the film

In an interview last week with the newspaper The Cross , the director has explained his choice. “At a time of writing, I asked myself the question, since it was a work of fiction, change names, places. But everything that I had spoken about had already been mentioned very accurately in the press. It would have been hypocritical. The father Preynat confessed everything and it would be ridiculous to call Barbarin, the cardinal Pitch. Régine Mayor also testified. I had his e-mails. Everything she says in the film, this is what she actually said, I am not inventing anything. I used an existing hardware”, says François Ozon.

The lawyer Roberta Mayor, considered to be the beginning of January to the sides of cardinal Barbarin and five other members of his entourage for not reporting sexual assault between the 1970s and 1980s, has asked that the film’s release be postponed, since the tribunal correctionnel de Lyon must make its deliberations on the 7th of march next, after the release date of the movie on February 20.

The developer has finally responded to the notice of Roberta Mayor, who wants to see the film before its cinema release, in an interview with the New Republic , 1 February. “First we’ll show the movie to Roberta Mayor, who has not been seen. It will be seen that we cannot show that what she is doing, and says, within the catholic institution,” said François Ozon, according to a preview posted online Friday by the regional daily newspaper, which will publish the interview in full on February 17, three days of theatrical release.

A film “undermine the presumption of innocence”

This is not the only attack against the movie of François Ozon. One of the lawyers of the father Preynat, Me Emmanuel Mercinier, has filed a claim against Ozon before the tribunal de grande instance of Paris, Friday, to postpone the release of the film, which will be held before the trial.

“If today we begin to make films that undermine the presumption of innocence of persons who are not yet found, it opens a gap in the extremely dangerous”

I Mercinier AFP

“just to see the trailer, available online, to see that the father Preynat appears on the 2nd, 3rd, or second, that it is referred to or designated 13 times during the first minute, and that it is presented as guilty of the offences for which he is now being pursued. However, the law prohibits to present as established the guilt of a person before them to be judged”, argues the lawyer, adding that the opposing party “will no doubt consider that there has been a confession during the proceedings and that, therefore, it is no longer necessary to respect the presumption of innocence, but it is an absolute principle”. The defence accuses the production of the film “surf on the judicial news”, while the tribunal correctionnel de Lyon must make its deliberate, on the 7th of march, in the trial of the cardinal Philippe Barbarin for not having denounced to justice the actions of the father Preynat.

This is not the first time that the defence of the priest in lyon, which is the inspiration for with God, attempts to push back the release of the film . In December, Me Frédéric Doyez, had already made this request to the director and his producers for his client’s trial, expected in 2019, which is not influenced by the film as he had explained to the Progress of Lyon . “The purpose of my approach is just to prevent the output before the trial. That the film so, it is the freedom of creation. But to go out a fiction to narrate the facts corresponding to a trial that will take place in the short term, and that has been hyper-publicized through the communication of the victim, it is something which can undermine the presumption of innocence.” Lack of income, he therefore charged Me to assign Mercinier to initiate an appeal. Contacted by AFP, Mr. Ozon did not want to respond to his summons.

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“Thanks to God”, the trailer – Watch it on Figaro Live