The final night of the Cannes Film Festival 2018 saw more than trophies and awards being handed out to the crowd. There was another victory waiting to be delivered: a voice amidst the many eloquent and well-adorned words that had already been spoken. A voice that would not refuse to remain in silence.
This voice belonged to Italian director and actress Asia Argento, who was to present the award for best actress, took a moment during the closing ceremony of the international film festival to call out former director Harvey Weinstein. Argento told the crowd that Weinstein had raped her at the 1997 Cannes Festival when she was 21 years old.
“The festival was his hunting ground,” Argento said of Weinstein, who had already been accused of various sexual misconducts and alleged rape by other actresses like Rose McGowan and Kate Beckinsale. Argento’s words remind us of the complicit culture of the festival environment that allows sexual predators like Weinstein to prey on victims.
“I want to make a prediction: Harvey Weinstein will never be welcomed here ever again. He will live in disgrace, shunned by a film community that once embraced him and covered up for his crimes.”
The staggering amount of accusations against Weinstein may indeed give small room for this hope, but the problem still exists within the entertainment industry that would rather turn a blind eye to such atrocities than face the consequences of accepting these accusations. Argento goes on to address perpetrators who have yet to be named, but are still kept hushed up by industry members. “Even tonight sitting among you, there are those that need to be held accountable for their conduct against women,” she said to the audience. “You know who you are, but most importantly we know who you are and we will not allow you to get away with it any longer.”
Needless to say, the bold declaration was met by thunderous applause from the crowd. Unlike her previous attempt at stepping forward, which resulted in such backlash by the Italian media that the actress was forced to temporarily leave the country, Argento’s bravery this time has been widely rewarded with praise and support. Her vulnerability will hopefully be a big step at pushing the #MeToo movement towards a brighter future, and a more transparent film community that Argento envisions.