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Abuse of Weakness

by Catherine Breillat

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In 2004, the iconoclastic French director Catherine Breillat suffered a stroke that paralyzed the left side of her body. Three years later, she met the infamous con man Christophe Rocancourt and offered him a lead role in a film she was developing, as well as 25,000 euros to write a script. Over the subsequent eighteen months, she wrote him various cheques totalling a further 678,000 euros, money that she would never see again. In 2009, Breillat wrote a book entitled Abus de faiblesse — abuse of weakness, a term used in the French legal system — that dealt with her experience. Last year, Rocancourt was found guilty under exactly this law of taking Breillat's money, and was sentenced to sixteen months in prison.

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