Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mon Dieu! He Is Romping in Every Scene in a New Film That Was Banished from Cannes but Still Stole the Show. as Gerard Depardieu Plays a Role Loosely Based on the Controversial Antics of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, David Sexton Marvels at His Staying Power

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mon Dieu! He Is Romping in Every Scene in a New Film That Was Banished from Cannes but Still Stole the Show. as Gerard Depardieu Plays a Role Loosely Based on the Controversial Antics of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, David Sexton Marvels at His Staying Power

Article excerpt

Byline: David Sexton

THE most newsworthy event at this year's Cannes Film Festival wasn't any part of the Cannes Film Festival. The organisers hadn't accepted Abel Ferrara's scabrous film on the downfall of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Welcome to New York, starring Gerard Depardieu, into competition. So the producers simply organised their own event in town anyway, premiering the film in a tent on the beach, cheekily showing it in the form of a blown-up video on demand, which is the way it has been released in France.

Ferrara, Depardieu and his co-star Jacqueline Bisset attended and gave a press conference afterwards. "It's not porno at all -- to be porno, you have to see the big dick," said Depardieu.

It's pretty porno, though. In the opening section of the film we see Depardieu ("Mr Devereaux") have group sex in his hotel room at least four times with different prostitutes in one night, before violently sexually assaulting the hotel maid the following morning.

In the first of these orgies there are lots of people in the room and champagne and ice cream flying about and the sex is rough and nasty. Very soon after entering the room, Devereaux avails himself of a blowjob from one of the girls, forcefully gripping her head in his hands. Then, after toasting "Vive la France!", he moves on to full sex, slapping away at breasts and buttocks. Throughout all this he makes the most extraordinary noises, growling like a wild animal, grunting and groaning loudly as he comes -- "Waah! Oooah! Uurgh! Uurgh!" -- always with unmistakeably French intonation. No sooner has this set of escorts left the hotel than a new shift arrives, a pair of Russian girls who first put on a lesbian show for him -- "Fuck her, yes, fuck her," he says approvingly -- before he has sex with them too, after more slapping, despite his protestations that he's "not the spring chicken" any longer. So delighted are these girls with the whole thing that they improbably carry on with each other afterwards in the hotel corridor.

Ferrara (The Driller Killer, Bad Lieutenant) isn't new to sleaze. He stood in for the lead in his first movie, 9 Lives of a Wet Pussy, when the actor couldn't perform. Ferrara proudly maintains that these sex scenes were not rehearsed but a tribute to Depardieu's continuing magnetism: "What you see in the film -- the relationship between him and those girls -- that's what really happened. I don't think those girls were acting; they were getting into it. I know because I talked to them. They all know who he was and they were all dying to do the scenes with him."

For his part, Depardieu, addressing the camera directly in the film's pro-logue, says he doesn't like Strauss-Kahn or "feel" him and offers this remarkable, distinctively French criticism of his sexual exploits: "How can you take pleasure in six minutes?" Yet he also says in the film's production notes that he was able to get inside the role, nonetheless. "You think to yourself, 'What if this was me?' I think I am like this too. When we make love we all do the same thing, we make the same sound when we come. And luckily so." Do we, really? I must have been living an unusually quiet life.

The next morning "Mr Devereaux" comes out of the shower in just a towel and, after asking her, "Do you know who I am?", brutally assaults the black maid, despite her screams and cries of "No, no! …

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