Director says she will work with intimacy coaches after Cannes film furore

The 76th Cannes Film Festival - Press conference for the film 'Le retour' (Homecoming) in competition - Cannes, France, 18 May, 2023. Director Catherine Corsini attends.Reuters

French director Catherine Corsini said on Thursday she would work with intimacy coaches and do more to help young actresses in future films, after concerns were raised about an intimate scene with minors in her Cannes Festival entry ‘Homecoming’.

French authorities cut funding for the film after it emerged a scene had been included without clearance from the official body that looks after the safety of child actors, according to the film's production company Chaz Productions.

Corsini told journalists on Thursday she would take different decisions and call in experts to help actors prepare for sex scenes if she were faced with similar circumstances in the future.

“I would ask myself more questions,” Corsini said. “Maybe I was being a bit pretentious, thinking I had 30-35 years of experience in my career and maybe I thought I had more experience than an intimacy coach.”

“I think that basically I would have paid more attention to make the actresses more at ease,” she added.

‘Homecoming’ tells the story of Paris nanny Khedidja, played by Aissatou Diallo Sagna, who travels to Corsica for work with her teenage daughters Jessica and Farah - portrayed by Suzy Bemba and Esther Gohourou.

The family is returning to the island they left 15 years prior under tragic circumstances.

Corsini told Variety magazine on Tuesday that she ultimately cut the intimate scene from the final version “to calm everyone down and especially so that people would stop bothering the actors.”

Gohourou and Harold Orsoni, the other underage actor in the scene, have said that they were offered an intimacy coach but decided that it was not necessary.

Including Corsini, there are a record seven female directors competing for the Palme d'Or top prize this year.