After filming the music video Heart-Shaped Glasses in which they had to simulate a sex scene, Evan Rachel Wood was penetrated without her consent by Marilyn Manson, her partner at the time.
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“I never consented to this. I was raped on camera in front of a camera crew who didn’t know what to do. It’s the worst experience I’ve had,” she says in the disturbing documentary. Phoenix Rising the first part of which was presented on Sunday evening on the online platform of the Sundance festival.
Directed by Amy Berg (Deliver Us from Evil, West of Memphis), the two-part documentary will premiere in March on HBO.
Mme Wood, who first revealed that she had been raped in an interview with Rolling Stone in 2016, went public with the name of her attacker last year. With a mixture of determination, great strength and emotion, she goes even further in this film where she unpacks her entire journey.
“The time has come for me to tell the truth, to reveal my side of the story, she said in a question and answer session at the end of the screening. People will believe what they want. My job is not to convince them. I do not lie. The only thing I can do is tell the truth. »
In some aspects, Phoenix Rising echoes another documentary shown at Sundance this weekend, We Need to Talk About Cosby which looks back on the many sexual assaults committed by Bill Cosby against women over the decades of his career.
The two works report on the steps that have since been taken in the United States to change the laws and extend the limitation periods allowing victims of assault to file a complaint. Evan Rachel Wood actively worked to change the law in California now called the Phoenix Act.
Some passages of Amy Berg’s documentary are extremely disturbing, difficult to watch. Evan Rachel Wood says that on the set of the music video, Manson drugged her with absinthe. Later, he ordered her to tell magazines that this shoot had been “romantic”.
At the time, the young woman was barely an adult and Manson is 19 years her senior. She is well aware that people will reproach her for not having acted before, for having waited ten years before testifying, but says that she was far too frightened to do so.
Among other things, she explains how Manson, whom she describes as a great manipulator, became violent on a tour where she accompanied him. “On tour, he was in his world. And in this world, he is like a god,” she says.
One evening, in a hotel room where Manson breaks everything, she watches, devastated, pleading, as one of the tour members closes the door, leaving her alone with the singer. “I thought this employee was a friend,” she adds, pained.
The actress also looks back on her childhood marked by violent quarrels between her parents and where the latter tell her they argue because they love each other. Sara, the mother of the actress, is appalled by remembering these moments.
Since naming Marilyn Manson as her attacker in 2021, other women, including actress Esmé Bianco, have come forward to level similar accusations against the singer. Police opened an investigation, searched Manson’s home, but still haven’t brought charges. In a letter to the production, Manson’s attorneys deny all charges.
In the Q&A session that followed the presentation, documentary filmmaker Amy Berg denounced the industry’s silence.
“This story is important because it shows how things can go wrong in a community,” she says. We encountered a lot of resistance, just to get the music rights released, while making the film. All because people continue to protect Brian Warner (Manson’s real name) and don’t want to be involved in anything that might shock him. »