A Paris court rejected a legal challenge from Rev. Father Bernard Preynat, whose case inspired the Francois Ozon-directed Berlin Silver Bear winner.
‘By the Grace of God’ is a 2019 French-Belgian drama film directed by François Ozon. It won the Jury Grand Prix at the 69th Berlin International Film Festival.
Francois Ozon's Berlin Silver Bear winner has overcome one legal hurdle ahead of its planned Wednesday release in France, a Paris court ruled Monday. The court rejected a legal challenge from Father Bernard Preynat, who wanted the block the scheduled release of the film in France on Feb. 20.
The film was inspired by the case against Preynat, indicted two years ago for sexual assault and accused of molesting more than 80 boys. The priest, who denies the charges, said that the film undermines his presumption of innocence and would unfairly impact his trial. He sued to block the film's release until after his trial, which is expected to happen sometime later this year, writes Hollywood Reporter.
However, the French court rejected his bid, though the film still faces an additional legal challenge that could stop its scheduled release Feb. 20.
The director changed the names of the victims in the film, except Preynat, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin and church volunteer Regine Maire, with the latter two set to receive verdicts March 7 on charges of covering up the abuse. In a separate case heard Monday in Lyon, Maire sued to have her name removed from the film.