One of the films premiering this week at the Cannes Film Festival has been accused of anti-Semitism by the French daily Le Monde and the French version of Huffington Post.
The film, "Welcome to New York," by American director Abel Ferrara, was inspired by the sex scandal that brought down International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn in 2011. It stars Gerard Depardieu as Georges Devereaux, a character strongly similar to Strauss-Kahn, and Jacqueline Bisset as his wife, Simone.
Simone is portrayed as a rich woman who inherited a fortune amassed during World War II and helps the Israeli state financially.
Both Le Monde and Anne Sinclair, Strauss-Kahn's ex-wife who edits the French version of Huffington Post, criticized the portrayal of Simone as anti-Semitic.
Sinclair said she was "disgusted with the so-called face-to-face between the two main characters, on which the authors and producers of the film project their fantasies about money and Jews."
"The allusions to my family during the war are completely degrading and defamatory. They say the opposite of what happened," she said.
"My grandfather (famous art dealer Paul Rosenberg) had to escape from the Nazis and was stripped of his French nationality by the Vichy government," she added, referring to the wartime French regime that collaborated with the Germans.
"My father... fought until the liberation. To say otherwise is slander."
Questioned by AFP, Ferrara denied that he was anti-Semitic. "I hope not. I was brought up by Jewish women," he said.
He also denied having defamed Sinclair's father. "He was not a collaborator," Ferrara said. "He was almost killed by the Gestapo. He was completely the opposite. He was very nearly killed like six million Jews."
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now