Rose McGowan’s tweet suggests a poetic justice for Weinstein’s poison | Peter Bradshaw

Peter Bradshaw
Rose McGowan with Harvey Weinstein at a film premiere in 2007. Photograph: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

As the Weinstein scandal begins to look like a red pill moment for the film industry – revealing the widespread abuse that was there all along – the most startling intervention came from Rose McGowan, a defiant survivor of Weinstein’s alleged assault. Without comment, she tweeted the text of William Blake’s poem A Poison Tree, a stark, mysterious work whose complex meanings McGowan may actually have done more to reveal than anyone else in modern times. It begins with “I was angry with my friend/ I told my wrath, my wrath did end” and ends with a poison tree being grown, created by and feeding on the dammed-up rage and hurt at a powerful enemy that is not expressed, and watered by the false smiles that the victim has been compelled to put on, and eventually bringing forth an “apple bright”. I once studied that poem at university – but never understood it the way I do now, in McGowan’s fierce retelling: Eve’s revenge against the smug serpent-Adams of this world. From now on, English students reading Blake will also have to study McGowan’s exegesis of this poem, and the light it sheds on an aggressor’s poison entering the ecosystem and finally returning to its originator.

All about her mother

I’m in Lyon, for the Lumière film festival, run by the Cannes director Thierry Frémaux, a festival for classic cinema, where special guest Tilda Swinton has rousingly declared: “There is no such thing as an old film.” It is named in honour of the Lumière brothers, Auguste and Louis, the great 19th-century pioneer film-makers of Lyon, who are considered to be the inventors of cinema itself. Their portraits hang in the very grand press room in the Institut Lumière. Maybe the most interesting event is the presentation of work by Lyon film-maker Diane Kurys, a supremely intelligent director who in the 1980s and 1990s had to endure mealy-mouthed pundits deciding whether or not to defend her against the charge of being a feminist. Her Coup de Foudre in 1983 is a personal film about her mother, starring Isabelle Huppert as a woman who doesn’t realise how unfulfilled she is in her marriage until she befriends another woman. Their subversive intimacy supersedes every other relationship in their lives. This is the film that shows Huppert at the moment of transforming from ingénue into the devastatingly sophisticated performer we know today – and, certainly, a celebration of something other than patriarchy.

Zipping the wink

Woody Allen ‘thinks it would be a shame if men were no longer allowed to wink at women on film sets’. Photograph: Ma/action press/REX/Shutterstock

Another day, another strange and creepy moment from the film business. Woody Allen has stated that he thinks it would be a shame if men were no longer allowed to wink at women on film sets. Yeeeech. Winking, like whistling in the street, is something that surely died out with a previous generation. I remember that grownups would wink at me when I was a child – when they had said or done something that was supposed to be funny. It was the older-generation physiological equivalent of holding up a sign for a TV studio audience that said: “Laugh.” Some people could only do it while scrunching up the entire wink side of their face – like George Formby. Others could eerily do it while keeping the rest of their face immobile. I was aware of some people doing it instead of saying hello. It was insufferably condescending. And the thought of people doing it in a leery sexual way is too awful to be borne. The only people that can get away with winking are the paradoxically supercool young people on the front of i-D magazine. Otherwise, please. Winking went out with cardboard bus tickets.

• Peter Bradshaw is a Guardian columnist

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