AJFF: The Accusation
AJFF PreviewFilm

AJFF: The Accusation

The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival returns for its 23rd anniversary with a slate of compelling, emotional and thought-provoking films.

"The Accusation"
"The Accusation"

A privileged young man from a French corps d’elite family is accused of rape in this riveting and verbally explicit drama exploring the role of class and power in a sexual abuse context. Alexandre, Alex to family and friends, studies in the States at Stanford, and returns home to visit his estranged family.

His mother Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) is a renowned, outspoken feminist and essayist, living with Adam Wizman, a secular Jew with a 16-year-old daughter, Mila. Early on we witness Claire’s outrage over some men’s deplorable behavior when, in a TV interview, she condemns a migrant who committed sexual assault, emphatically asserting that all sexual assailants must pay heavily for their crimes, a position that will come to haunt her.

Alex’s dad Jean (Pierre Arditi), a bulky, aging playboy with an enormously inflated ego, is a renowned journalist who displays his pompous condescension readily, almost gleefully. Neither Claire nor Jean meets Alex when he arrives in Paris; rather it’s Claire’s housekeeper who welcomes Alex with a favorite dish she has lovingly prepared, warmly appreciated by Alex but duly noted as a poor surrogate for his parents’ presence.

Apples don’t fall far from the tree, the saying goes: we learn that Alex, 19, has had a very carnal fling with a somewhat older woman who now wants him to delete all their electronic correspondence so she can move on to a new, more age-appropriate relationship, an entreaty Alex actively contests. When his mom Claire and partner Adam are finally home, Alex meets Adam’s daughter Mila whose Orthodox mom observes a strict lifestyle.

Alex is urged to take Mila to a party he’s attending, a raucous event with drugs, heavy alcohol consumption, and sexual challenges, ostensibly way out of Mila’s sheltered existence. The morning after, the police arrive charging that Mila has accused Alex of raping her the night before. The ensuing trial becomes a media frenzy, repugnant to all, but especially to Claire and Jean who fear for their own A-list reputations, and for the dire, catastrophic impact a bad outcome could have for their “model” son. Alex’s past lovers and parents are among the witnesses in the intense, edge-of-your-seat, sexually descriptive courtroom proceedings that will keep you hooked and pondering truth and personal accountability until the final moments.

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