Allen, Woody: Cafe Society Gets Standing Ovation and Helmer is Subject to Rape Joke

Woody Allen’s new film, Cafe Society, kicked off the 69th Cannes Film Fest, on Wednesday night, May 11.

But after getting standing ovation, the director was subject to a strange rape joke.  “It’s very nice that you’ve been shooting many movies in Europe, even if you are not being convicted for rape in the U.S.,” said master of ceremonies Laurent Lafitte.

The joke was taken as a knock on Woody Allen and possibly on director Roman Polanski as well.

French comedian Lafitte co-stars in Paul Verhoeven’s rape drama, “Ellen,” which premieres next week at Cannes.

“Thank you for coming tonight, sir,” he continued in French. “But it’s good, because you give badly-paid bit parts to French actors, which kind of puts them in their place.”

Later, popular French actor Matthieu Chedid, aka M, performed a tribute to Prince, singing “Purple Rain” against a purple backdrop to the delight of the crowd.

Allen was joined by cast members Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg and Blake Lively on the red carpet.

He was making his 12th Cannes appearance with the movie. It was his third time opening the fest.

At the press screenings, word of mouth among critics on Cafe Society was mixed, to say the least, though the film was met with warmer reception than Allen’s recent films such as “Irrational Man,” which screened at Cannes last year, or “Magic in the Moonlight.”

“Cannes is an extraordinary festival, I see so many people I know and the audience always responds well,” said Allen before the festivities. “I like Hollywood, seeing friends there, but I couldn’t live there.”

Jury president George Miller, whose “Mad Max: Fury Road” played at Cannes last year, was honored with a montage of his career during the ceremony.

“I will tell you this jury will deliberate very assiduously,” he told the audience.

While on the red carpet, jury member Laszlo Nemes said that the alchemy between his fellow jury members was already working well. “At the same time, everyone seems to have strong opinions so it will be interesting,” said the Hungarian filmmaker, who was raised in France.

Actress Kirsten Dunst, a member of this year’s jury, said “George Miller is so kind. He brings everyone together in a nice way.”