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Director Luc Besson Thanks Wife While Promoting Movie at Venice After Being Cleared of Rape Charges

The "DogMan" director called his wife "a tough cookie" at a press conference on Wednesday

Luc Besson is back in the spotlight after a turbulent period in his life and career.

The 64-year-old French director — who, in June, was cleared of rape charges from 2018 by the French Supreme Court — thanked his wife and producer, Virginie Besson-Silla, at the Venice Film Festival while promoting his latest movie DogMan.

"Virginie, my producer, she’s a tough cookie, believe me," Besson said at one point in the press conference. "She helped me a lot on the editing. She’s always very cold about it. She doesn’t want to see all the dailies. She wants to stay out, you know, to be able, at the end, to give comments."

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Besson, joined onstage by cast members Caleb Landry Jones and Jonica T. Gibbs, also told reporters: “The only two things that can save you are love and art, definitely not money. When you have both you’re lucky.”

Related: Natalie Portman Says Her Relationship with Breakout Film 'The Professional' Is 'Complicated For Me'

<p>GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty</p> French director and producer Luc Besson and his wife Virginie Besson-Silla pose during the photocall of the movie "Dogman" presented in competion at the 80th Venice Film Festivalon August 31, 2023 at Venice Lido.

GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty

French director and producer Luc Besson and his wife Virginie Besson-Silla pose during the photocall of the movie "Dogman" presented in competion at the 80th Venice Film Festivalon August 31, 2023 at Venice Lido.

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In June, the Lucy director was cleared of assault charges alleged by actress Sand Van Roy in France.

"This decision confirms the dismissal in favor of Luc Besson and confirms all the decisions of the last five years which have found him not guilty,” Besson's attorney, Thierry Marembert, said in a statement at the time.

"It therefore puts a definitive end to this procedure initiated in 2018, during which Luc Besson was systematically cleared by all the magistrates who examined the case," Marembert said, adding "As a lawyer, I welcome this exemplary procedure, which has allowed the manifestation of the truth which is that Luc Besson is innocent.”

<p>GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty</p> Jojo T. Gibbs, Luc Besson and Caleb Landry Jones on Aug. 31, 2023

GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty

Jojo T. Gibbs, Luc Besson and Caleb Landry Jones on Aug. 31, 2023

Venice International Film Festival director Alberto Barbera recently defended the decision to have controversial directors, like Woody Allen and Roman Polanski, included in this year's lineup.

“I am on the side of those who say you have to distinguish between the responsibilities of the individual and that of the artist. … I am a festival director, not a judge," he told Variety. "I judge the artistic qualities of films."

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