- Associated Press - Sunday, May 18, 2014

CANNES, France (AP) - Abel Ferrara’s movie “Welcome to New York,” inspired by the sex scandal involving the former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has been grabbing headlines, and a secretive party to celebrate it here created even more of a buzz.

The theme for Saturday’s celebration - hosted at Nikki Beach on the Croisette - mirrored the film’s lurid subject matter. Ferrara partied with guests who donned white bath robes, and party bags came with complementary S&M whips, handcuffs, condoms and even tablets labeled “Viagra.”

The film, screened before the party started, stars Gerard Depardieu. He bares all to play unrepentant sex-addict Mr. Devereaux, a man who handles billions of dollars a day and commits a sexual assault on a hotel maid following an orgy.

Though the film comes with a legal disclaimer, there are undeniable parallels between Devereaux and Strauss-Kahn, known as DSK.

In May 2011, Strauss-Kahn was accused of sexually assaulting a New York hotel employee. Charges were ultimately dropped against the Frenchman and he reached an out-of-court settlement with the woman. Strauss-Kahn is charged with aggravated pimping in a separate case in France.

In the film, his wife, played stoically by Jacqueline Bisset, sees her dreams of being France’s first lady evaporate in scandal and her life torn apart. Strauss-Kahn was seen as a possible candidate for the presidency.

Depardieu was not at Saturday night’s party, opting to attend another screening of the film elsewhere in Cannes.

Once seen as a potential contender at the Cannes Film Festival, it has been released in France on video on demand.

- By Thomas Adamson, https://twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP

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