Cannes Director Catherine Corsini Vows to Work With Intimacy Coaches After Controversy Over Sexually Suggestive Scene With Minor

Catherine Corsini, whose Cannes competition entry “Homecoming” has been at the center of a firestorm due to a sexually suggestive scene between two minors, admitted during the press conference that she will work an intimacy coach and “will be more careful to make actresses more at ease” on future films.

The scandal over the inclusion of Corsini’s film in competition was sparked after news broke of the fact that this scene between the two young actors Esther Gohourou and Harold Orsini had been added without obtaining proper government approval — which prompted the National Film Board to cut all their subsidies for the movie, and the Cannes Film Festival to hold their competition slot for several days while they investigated the matter. After the backlash, Corsini and her producer Elisabeth Perez admitted that they had made a mistake and should have sent the updated scripted to the Commission des Enfants du Spectacle, a government-backed org ensuring the safeguard of child actors. Gohourou and Orsini then released a statement saying they had refused to work with intimacy coach after being offered one. Corsini ultimately decided to trim the scene from the final edit.

The film follows Kheididja (Aïssatou Diallo Sagna), a Black woman in her 40s and her two daughters, Jessica (Bemba) and Farah (Gohourou), who return to Corsica to work for a wealthy family for the summer after leaving the island in mysterious circumstances over a decade ago. The film revolves around the girls as they fall in love for the first time, while discovering things about themselves and their secretive family history.  

When asked if she will work differently on her next films with similar themes, Corsini said “I would ask myself a bit more questions. Even if we had coaches who worked with actors to help them feel more comfortable in their bodies, I see that these are questions that are extremely touchy and tense. So I would get an intimacy coach on board,” said Corsini.

“Perhaps I was a bit pretentious thinking that I had this career spanning 30 or 35 years and had maybe more experience than an intimacy coach since I had dealt with intimate scenes before,” said the director, who is an outspoken queer activist and a co-founder of the feminist org 50:50.

Corsini was surprisingly interrupted in her answer by Aïssatou Diallo Sagna, who also has a scene with an actor in the film and didn’t want to work with an intimacy coach.

“No, I don’t agree. We have a scene in the film that I apprehended a little and it was a very benevolent atmosphere, there only the people that were essential in the room. We also talked with Cedric and Catherine, we took out time, and we had a good experience,” said Diallo Sagna, who won the Cesar Award for best supporting actress for her part in Corsini’s previous movie “La fracture” which competed at Cannes.

But another intimate scene, which shot between Lomane de Dietrich and Suzy Bemba, was also lensed without a coach and the actors suggested they would have liked to have one.

“I’ve done two intimate scenes before in two previous projects and I’ve always worked with an intimacy coach so I didn’t know how to do without — because I don’t have a 35-year career behind me. I know that having worked with these coaches before gave me some tools that I was able to use on (“Homecoming”),” said Bemba, who will next be seen in Yorgos Lanthimos’ “Poor Thing.”

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