Noémie Kocher Responds to MeToo Movement in France, Two Decades After Her Case Against Jean-Claude Brisseau

Noémie Kocher Responds to MeToo Movement in France, Two Decades After Her Case Against Jean-Claude Brisseau

In the early 2000s, the actress Noémie Kocher filed a complaint for sexual harassment against director Jean-Claude Brisseau. After a four-year investigation, Brisseau was sentenced on December 15, 2005, to a one-year suspended prison sentence and 15,000 euros in fines. Despite the victory, Kocher still feels the impact of the event. Two decades later, the 54-year-old actress considers the French #MeToo movement as “upsetting”.

At the time of the incident, the cinema industry was far from the support it showed to Judith Godrèche during the 49e Caesar ceremony. After Kocher’s complaint, several influential figures in the world of cinema, including Olivier Assayas, the Dardenne brothers, and Claire Denis, rushed to sign a petition in favor of Brisseau, describing him as a “wounded artist” who was misunderstood. The film industry, where silence is often maintained in cases of sexual violence, showed support for Brisseau with petitions and endorsements of his films.

Kocher finds the current discussions around “consent”, “control”, and “predation”, driven by the #MeToo movement, as a sign of progress. She expresses her admiration for the women who are making a change and shares the pain, anger, and sisterhood they feel. Kocher also emphasizes that this movement serves to tell women, from all walks of life, that sexual harassment is unacceptable.

Kocher, who is now a screenwriter, also shares her thoughts on the investigation against Gérard Depardieu. She believes that the voices of adult women should not be overshadowed by the testimonies of those who were minors at the time of the events.

On the topic of the fate of the films of the accused directors, Kocher believes it’s a complicated issue and that everyone should be able to decide for themselves whether or not to watch these films. However, she states that the public should know that films like “Secret Things” and “The Exterminating Angels” were made using sexual violence on actresses.

In 2017, in an interview with the Obs, Kocher shared that she had reconciled with her body thanks to her decision to speak out. She emphatically states, “I am not a victim! When I decided to file a complaint, I regained my dignity, I broke the hold. I was no longer his object. But a subject.”