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Berlin: Hanna Schygulla Backs Away from #MeToo, Recounts Being Slapped by Fassbinder

Hanna SchygullaLa priere - Photocall -
PHILIPP GUELLAND/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Veteran German actress Hanna Schygulla may become the latest person to enrage feminists fronting the #MeToo movement against sexual violence.

Speaking at the Berlin Film Festival, where she appears in competition “The Prayer,” by France’s Cedric Kahn, Schygulla revealed her own experience of violence during film making. But instead of backing away from the situation, she appeared to side more with those who question the popular rush to condemn.

“When I started making films, [German director Rainer Werner] Fassbinder slapped me in the face and said I had to take it,” Schygulla said Sunday at the Berlinale.

“I know that there is a taboo about this kind of thing now. But there is a problem these days that people are touching each other less,” she added.

That stance appears to align Schygulla with notable European film industry figures, such as France’s Catherine Deneuve and Austria’s Michael Haneke, who have voiced worries about a new era of intolerance and puritanism. Deneuve will star in Kahn’s next film project “Joyeux Anniversaire.”

The Berlin festival has this week been a high-profile platform for discussion of #MeToo, sexual a violence and gender roles in the film industry. Festival organizers publicly aligned the event with #MeToo, but they ran into a social media backlash by inviting South Korean director Kim Ki-duk.

Kim was recently accused of sexual violence when he slapped an actress during the making of his 2013 film “Moebius.” Kim maintained that the slap was part of the film rehearsal process, and in a court was cleared of sexual violence.

Festival organizers also rejected calls to replace the traditional red carpet with a black one as a mark of solidarity with #MeToo and victims of sexual violence.