Strauss-Kahn arrest also the talk of Cannes

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While Dominique Strauss-Kahn fights sexual assault charges in New York, festival-goers in Cannes were wondering on Monday if his story might be worthy of big-screen treatment.

"Humanity, power, women, sex, money -- it's got it all," said Jean-Andre Yerles, co-president of the French Screenwriters' Guild, as Strauss-Kahn appeared in court for the first time since his weekend arrest.

"What fascinates me, if I had to make a film about this, isn't the cheap plot of the typical American movie, but the self-destruction of this character," Yerles said.

"One gets the impression of someone who cut a deal with the devil and then faces punishment for failing to respect it."

The arrest of the International Monetary Fund chief and potential Socialist challenger to Nicolas Sarkozy in next year's French presidential elections is the talk of the Cannes festival, at least among European participants.

"No film seems as powerful as the DSK affair," said critic Serge Kaganski of the left-leaning French cultural news weekly Les Inrockuptibles on the Cannes film festival's official television channel.

"Reality has overtaken fiction, or at least rivals it," he said. "It's got all the ingredients" for a "rather Kafkaesque" film by the Coen brothers, if not something more "elegant" by Michael Mann.

Not interested was Xavier Durringer, whose Sarkozy biopic "The Conquest" will be the first film at Cannes about a serving French president when it is screened out of competition on Wednesday.

"Whatever the outcome, it is not a story for me," said Durringer, who was put off by the "very cruel" sight of Strauss-Kahn in handcuffs "reminiscent of the arrest scenes in US television shows".

"I would not do a film around his relationship with women and the way he conducts himself," he said. "It goes beyond my moral boundaries. It's not the kind of film that grabs me. I find it really gross."

Jean-Paul Huchon, the Socialist president of the regional council for Ile-de-France (metropolitan Paris), expressed solidarity with Strauss-Kahn on Monday by refusing to appear on the red carpet at Cannes.

He was in town for a seminar on cinema financing and the gala screening of "House of Tolerance," a period film about a Paris brothel that is in competition for the Palme d'Or.

"Given the difficulties that my friend Dominque Strauss-Kahn is facing, I decided not to walk the red carpet, a festive occasion, for a film supported by the Ile-de-France region," he told AFP.

© 2011 AFP

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