French actress Judith Godreche has filed a complaint against film director Benoit Jacquot, accusing him of raping her in a relationship that began when she was 14 and he was 25 years her senior, her lawyer said.
On Tuesday, the 51-year-old Godreche lodged a formal complaint with the Juvenile Protection Brigade (BPM) of police for the suspected rape of a minor by a person in a position of authority, lawyer Laure Heinich said on Wednesday.
Jacquot, one of France's most prominent directors after a career that has spanned five decades, denied the accusations in comments to the Le Monde daily which also interviewed Godreche.
This crime is punishable by 20 years' imprisonment, although the statute of limitations has "probably" expired in the case, Le Monde said.
Godreche had in January on social media accused Jacquot, now 77, of manipulating her into a relationship as a vulnerable underage actor, saying the arts have provided cover for abuse.
The relationship began in the spring of 1986, when Godreche was 14, and ended in the early 1990s.
Godreche said she remained "in his grip" for six years, starring in two films he directed, "Les Mendiants" ("The Beggars") in 1988 and "La Desenchantee" ("The Disenchanted") in 1990.
She decided to speak out after discovering him boasting about their relationship being a "transgression", and cinema providing a "cover" for it, in a 2011 documentary.
"I threw up," Godreche told the TMC television channel, at seeing him enjoy such "impunity".
"Consent does not exist when you're 14," she said.
#MeToo movement in France
Jacquot, a director with more than 50 films and TV films to his name, has said he needs to be "in love" with his actresses to film them.
He has worked with established stars such as Catherine Deneuve and Isabelle Huppert, but also Godreche, Virginie Ledoyen and Isild Le Besco as teenagers.
In 2015, he described his work as "pushing an actress to pass a threshold. The best way to do all that is to be in the same bed."
Le Monde said the director talked to the teenager about sadism in cinema and played sadomasochistic sexual games with her.
He also forbade her to use any contraception and grew especially violent towards the end of their relationship, the newspaper said.
Godreche was among those in 2017 to speak out against US movie producer Harvey Weinstein at the height of the #MeToo movement.
Years later the campaign has picked up momentum in France and is forcing a fresh debate about sexism and sexual violence in French cinema.